S.310: Learning to manage/managing to learn

This session provided by a theoretical framework and practical advice for new or experienced managers. In Sasha Griffin’s remarks she asked us to consider the balance between what’s good for the institution and what’s good for the archives? I think that an archive and library always needs to work to be alignment with the broader goals and interests of its parent organization in order to remain relevant and valued by the larger organization.

Laura Sullivan shared her experiences being interim director. The use of a teams approach to department projects and problem solving worked well in her context. Although I don’t agree that managing means giving up “the stuff” I appreciated her comments about balancing work for the department with more task oriented work.

I found Audra Eagle Yun’s presentation particularly compelling, as she employed the concept of asset community-based development to her work as a new manager. She focused on department and individual strengths to help determine department goals and processes. Eagle Yun then leveraged that work to advocate for her department by focusing on the positives when talking with senior library administators. No matter what our level in the organization, I believe we can all be positive advocates for the work that we do, and using this framework looks like a useful starting point.

Both Tamar Chute and Sibyl Schaefer discussed the importance of advocating for the department as opposed to indivudal sub-units within the department, as a manager. I think that this advice is critical to the successful management of archives and libraries. Each part of the organization should be working towards a shared vision that best serves our users. Keeping this shared vision in mind when goals setting and empowerin those who report to us, helps us to avoid inter-departmental competition for resources.

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