On a + note

Learning and Leading

Posted in on a + note by Admin on May 17, 2010

Learning and leading

In these economically challenging times, many libraries have drastically reduced or eliminated their staff development and training budgets.

If you’ve said “we don’t have the money for staff training; we’re in a recession here,” then don’t be surprised when your best folks flock to the exit as soon as the job market improves. Even worse, be prepared for them to lose their passion and energy to excel and make a difference.

Recent studies have found that employees who learn new skills are 20% more likely to be long-term employees. The average cost of replacing an employee is more than $3,000, so it makes good business sense to retain staff and to work actively to make your library an “employer of choice.”

If you don’t change the oil in your car, eventually it breaks down. Employees need maintenance, too. Library staffs constantly need to upgrade their skills and increase their value within the organization. Every six months, ask your employees two questions about their learning:

  1. What can you do better now than you did six months ago?
  2. What would you like to improve/learn in the coming six months?

As human beings, we’re learning all the time, but often, we don’t even realize when it’s happening. The first question requires staff to reflect on the new skills they have mastered in the last six months and reinforces the learning!

The second question allows you to assess how employees wish to grow and learn during the next half year. Encouraging employees to think about the steps they should take to reach that point will help them focus on the exact skills they need to learn and how they will better serve customers. This second question is empowering and helps build leaders.

Bottom line: if you stop learning, you stop leading. It’s that simple!

Kitty Pope
kpope #14 May 2010

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