The Boss of Me
There are times in the life of a school librarian that no matter how experienced one is, you need some advice. I do not hesitate to reach out for help, but first, some research. This year is the 150th anniversary of my school’s founding. However, we will remember the year as one with a global pandemic and as a pivotal time to educate ourselves and our students about injustice, tragedies, and struggles for equality. Can you imagine getting a new administrator this year? Conversely, can you think about being a new boss this year?
Many educators worry when a new administration begins. We may ask questions like Is my job secure? Will the administrator’s philosophies align with mine? And how much will change? After asking these questions, I found five useful articles and three big concepts shared throughout the writing.
How to Greet a New Principal or Administrator
First, one takes the initiative in introductions and learning about a new boss. In the Forbes article, “3 Moves Smart People Make When They Get A New Boss,” Sara McCord advises that smart people “put their best foot forward.” And Dan McCarthy, in the post “How to Greet a New Boss and Make a Good Impression,” recommends that you know your job and be proactive about introducing yourself.
What We Can Offer a New Boss
When we get a new principal or administrator, we should think about how to provide information and solutions. McCord writes that smart people “offer to help.” McCarthy takes it a step further and suggests that we help our new managers learn and that we “watch their back.” In an article for the Harvard Business Review, Carolyn O’Hara writes we should help our new boss “achieve early wins” and that we should “come armed with solutions.” But what does the education world say about a new boss? Jeff Baxter, in the post, “A New Principal — Again,” advises we “adopt an attitude to do what you can to help the new principal succeed.”
What a New Boss Appreciates
A common thread throughout the “new boss listicles” is the importance of being open to change and new ideas. McCarthy encourages us to be open-minded and open to change. And Baxter has the concept of being open to new ideas as one of his top three points.
Success with a New Administrator
By far, the best advice about preparing for and working with a new administrator came from a 2002 article by Michael Watkins from the Harvard Business School in the article “How to Succeed with Your New Boss.” Watkins believes in cultivating a relationship with a series of five conversations. He offers advice when planning for the “five conversations.” Each of these topics are important to librarians, and this was a most helpful read:
- The situational diagnosis conversation (think mission and vision of the school with the library)
- The expectations conversation (how to define success in the library)
- The style conversation (communication preferences)
- The resources conversation (self-explanatory)
- The personal development conversation (self-explanatory)
Author: Hannah Byrd Little
Hello, I am the Library Director at The Webb School of Bell Buckle. I use my past experience in college and university libraries to help my current students in school libraries transition into college, career, and life. I am currently the lead Senior Class Adviser for the Capstone Project. I also served at the state level with the Tennessee Association of School Librarians executive board from 2009-2013 and was the TASL president in 2012. I am certified as a Library Information Specialist for PreK-12th grade, have a BS in Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations, a BS in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Education and Information Systems and a Masters in Library and Information Science.