On Being Middle Management

My current job is in fact my first long-term managerial position in the working world.  Because of that, it’s been more challenging and adventurous than any previous job.  People always add an element of adventure to everything, right?  Different personalities and skill sets and preferences all collide into one work environment, and we all have to figure out how to be a great team together.

Sometimes in the middle of the daily hubbub in the library, I end up feeling powerless to make a real positive change in my work environment.  I should feel more powerful than I used to, but I don’t.  I think when I was only responsible for my own actions, change was simpler.  All I had to do was change myself.

Now I have to change the system sometimes and the team at other times, and then there’s still all of the change that has to happen in myself.  There’s so much potential for change, yet it seems less attainable at times.  There can be so many layers to work through before anything is really different.

The good news is that I’ve been reading a great book lately.  It’s called The Best Place to Work, and it was written by Ron Friedman.

image from Amazon.com
image from Amazon.com

Dr. Friedman is kind enough to give me back some of my middle management confidence.  Woohoo!  I love that Friedman tells you about the studies behind the suggestions.  (Yeah, I like reading academic studies.  That’s at least 5% of why I’m a librarian.)  Best of all, the suggestions for managers and employees start out on an epic scale–what you could do if you had significant power in your company or a huge expendable budget.  And the ideas then filter down all the way to the inexpensive or free category, which is perfect for a library.  It’s nice to hear what’s possible and then hear how those awesome benefits can be captured to some degree in our realm.

So if you find yourself managing people (or being managed) and want to know how you can try to turn your workplace into the best place to work, this is a definite recommendation.

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