On a + note


What have I learned through all this pain? #42: 2010

Posted in on a + note by kendal0 on November 29, 2010

I am sure it is no surprise that I have learned much over the last few months as I watched multi-type library systems in Illinois run out of money and implode. The result has robbed hundreds of dedicated library workers of their jobs and left libraries across the state unsupported with no continuing education, professional consulting, group purchases, grant writing assistance, or website to foster cooperation. What a tragedy of monumental scale.

So, what have I learned through all this pain?

  • It’s easy to be a good leader when the sun is shining, circulation is up, and the money is flowing. A leader is truly tested during the tough times, when you have to lay off employees, and slash hours. That’s when your leadership is truly put to the test.
  • In a crisis, every shred of kindness is appreciated; the emails, cards, and phone calls have been so helpful as I’ve struggled to keep my equilibrium and model that positive attitude that folks have come to rely on.
  • Everyone deals with disappointment and loss differently; respect, kindness, and space are essential.
  • In a crisis, everything takes twice as long as usual. It’s as if your mind is in quicksand and tasks that would normally take a few seconds now take minutes to accomplish. For “speedsters” like me, this is amazingly frustrating! Patience and adjusting your expectations are fundamental to staying focused and on track.
  • Reply to every email, text message, and Facebook note. Even if it’s just a quick “thank you,” it really is essential to complete the circle of communication.
  • In times of crisis, there is no such thing as over-communicating.
  • There are no secrets in this world, so honesty is truly the best policy.
  • When all else fails, teamwork and a positive attitude will prevail.
  • The smart person knows when to ask for help. As a library leader, relying on the wisdom of the group, especially in times of crisis, is very wise.
  • Take nothing for granted. For me, that means enjoying the journey and taking time to appreciate the little things.
  • We are truly responsible for our own healing. No one can mend our broken hearts and tramped souls, except ourselves. Give yourself permission to heal; doing so is fundamental to recovery.

Being a good leader in tough times…well, it’s tough. However, with a positive attitude and teamwork, we will get through these trials and be all the better for it. Of this, I am sure.

Have a great week.

Kitty Pope #42 November/10

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One Response to 'What have I learned through all this pain? #42: 2010'

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  1. Cecilia Vespa said,

    Kitty,

    Thank you for this wonderful post which I want to tell you resonates soundly with me. I am working through some hurt in my life and the aspect of leadership in librarianship and your last statement about,

    “We are truly responsible for our own healing. No one can mend our broken hearts and tramped souls, except ourselves. Give yourself permission to heal; doing so is fundamental to recovery.”

    is spot on and is advice anyone who is in a similar position should embrace. Welcome back to Ontario! Guelph PL is lucky to have such an experienced and insightful CEO at its helm.


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