Saturday, April 14, 2018

#UNYSLA2018 : Kindling the Spark of Motivation

Mazar standing in front of an image of a leader with followersThe keynote speaker at the Upstate NY SLA Chapter spring conference was Rochelle Mazar, who spoke on leadership.

We change because we want to.  It can be slow.  As leaders, we cannot force people to change. However, we need to think about the context in which our staff are functioning. We can change the context.  Culture and context tell us what is expected.  We can spend a lot of time looking at context. Mazar focused on “us” (leaders) as context.

What is leadership?  A leader has followers.  A leader without followers is just going for a walk, rather than leading a parade. (See the image above.)

Why are you a leader?  Why is it you? Expertise, best at whatever, competence, specialized knowledge?  This is often who leaders are.  However, if the leaders knows it all, what is left for the team?  

What if your reframe leadership as guiding, making connections, empowering people, advocating, having a big picture perspective, clearing obstacles. When we take on this role, we make room for staff,  their ideas and the tasks that they own.

Leader to staff: “How do YOU think we can solve this?”

Leaders need to acknowledge their own mistakes.  Mistakes make the leader seem human.  Embracing mistakes means that your are embracing experimentation.

Leases automatically have power.  How do you want to distribute it?  Do you need all of the power in every moment?  Sharing power demonstrations trust in your staff.

How do you let staff soar? Have high expectations of staff.  When you do that, you are showing respect for the skills that staff have.  Focus on outcomes and not process. Use their expertise. Remember that all staff have something important to offer.

Question: How can we handle when staff leave/retire? Have the retiring staff member document what they have been doing.  Then make sure you have a good onboarding for new staff.  Someone noted that millennials may not stay long in a position (3-5 years).  Have a plan for how you will handle that turnover.  Also remember that new staff are bringing skills with them that you may not have had before.

Question: How can you help staff get past negatives or institutional baggage? As leaders, we need to be honest and face issues.  We need to lean into it and learn how we can do things differently in the future.  What about issues at a high level that we cannot control? We need to help people cope.   You may need to over share information, so people know what is happening.  Over sharing is not dropping the leadership hat.  Good leaders are willing to explain the real circumstances.

Question: How can consultants use this? Recognize that when you walk into a situation, you have all/much of the power.

Question: How do you share ideas with a leader who doesn’t want to hear them?  Solutions proposed by the group included sharing info with the leader in a way that leaves the person in power.

Question: How do you get staff to empower each other?  Find ways of getting staff to share ideas with each other.  Experiment.

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