Getting a New Boss

The Boss of Meboss photo

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)

Works Consulted


Author: Hannah Byrd Little

I’m a dedicated Library Director at The Webb School of Bell Buckle, leveraging my background in higher education libraries to guide students through the crucial transition from school to college and beyond.

I am honored to have served as the AASL Chair for the Independent School Section in 2023 and am excited to begin my upcoming role as Director-At-Large for the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) later this year, following my previous experience as a Member Guide in the AASL Emerging Leaders program. These appointments reflect my commitment to advancing library education and professional development on a national scale.

With experience in state-level leadership through the Tennessee Association of School Librarians (TASL), including serving as TASL President in 2012, I bring a wealth of knowledge to my role. My educational background includes certifications as a Library Information Specialist for PreK-12th grade, a Bachelor of Science in Communications (Advertising & Public Relations), a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies (Education & Information Systems), and a Master’s in Library and Information Science.

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration, Professional Development

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