Leading Through the Chaos is a poster in the 2020 PNLA Virtual Poster Session. We encourage you to engage in discussion by leaving a comment on the page. The author of the poster will respond to comments the week of August 4-7, 2020.
Presenter: Karen Yother
Track: Public Library
Abstract: Fear. Frustration. Anxiety. Uncertainty. Confusion. Worry. Stress. Sadness.
On a good day, managing staff dealing with just one of these emotions can be difficult, but when your entire team is feeling most of these emotions on a daily basis for weeks on end, how we lead can be the difference between tidal waves that capsize the boat or calm seas ahead for everyone.
The recent pandemic shone a spotlight on what I do well as a supervisor and what my team does very well on a daily basis, but it also highlighted some areas that were lacking and gaps in how we interact and communicate with each other.
In this poster session I will share how we improved communication, created a stronger support system, the lessons we learned, and how to sustain it all moving forward. From shifting to a virtual platform and setting aside summer plans for a new model just weeks prior to kick-off to learning to listen to what people aren’t saying and practicing being bendy, small changes in our behavior and actions can have a significant impact on staff. You can be the calm in the storm for your team starting today.
About the Presenter: As the Youth Services Coordinator at the Community Library Network, Karen leads a talented and amazing team of Super Librarians. She has served on various PNLA, ILA and CSLP committees since 2003. She received the Coeur d’Alene Schools “Inspiration Award”, the Hayden Chamber of Commerce Youth Award, was named Librarian of the Year by ILA, was a PNLA LEADS emerging leader, and was selected as one of the Top 30 Leaders Under 40 from the North Idaho Business Journal. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen, I love “I am nothing if not bendy”! Thank you for this and the rest of your inspirational ideas.
You are very welcome!
Informative, relevant and inspirational. Karen, your presentation is perfect.
Thank you for your kind words. I am glad my presentation had a positive impact on you.
Thanks for this, Karen! I really appreciate the part about leading with loving & learning rather than command & control, and also your emphasis on listening and vulnerability from leaders. I think that is so huge. If a supervisor only focuses on productivity and does not acknowledge the painful moments, the people they supervise might feel that they cannot open up / express themselves authentically – and then the trauma compounds…
I personally felt a lot of comfort / solidarity from my coworkers this past Spring when we had regular informal check-ins and chats (they’re probably still doing them, it’s just that my contract ended and I no longer work there!). The transition to remote work is weird for a lot of people. Building in low-stakes opportunities to casually connect can make a big difference for some!
Often times we try to push past the rough spots and tough times, not acknowledging the stress and pain staff (or we personally) are feeling. Providing support for staff will ultimately lead to a stronger team and greater productivity. It truly has made a significant difference for us.
At staff trainings I provide snacks and try to have something for everyone- not only dietary issues, but the person that loves chocolate or spicy chips appreciates knowing that I made the effort; a small gesture that goes a long way.
Absolutely beautiful slides! So many good reminders in there, we tend to forget ourselves in this stressful times. Focusing on self-care as well as empathy for others can go a long way. Thanks for this.
You are very welcome. Empathy has been a key focus over the last few months and will continue to be as we all move forward. Take care.
This is really nice!
Karen — thank you for sharing this. Very important. I love the idea of leading your staff with empathy. I am thinking that empathy might actually be a form of accountability for a leader.
Hi Rick, you are welcome. It has made all the difference for me. We can easily getting lost in our own frustrations and forget that others are struggling to find their way. Pausing to consider their perspective has truly helped me grow.