Saturday, September 23, 2006

Supervisory Session #3 Day Two -- Jenny

Morning Session: Problem Solving

This was a fun morning session. We got to toss pencils, paperclips and yellow smiley faced ping-pong balls into boxes. Then we got to “problem solve” to do it better. I think there’s a dinner party game in this task somewhere. There wasn’t a lot of new stuff here: brainstorming, allowing everyone to talk, not judging ideas or thoughts, grouping brainstorm ideas into categories (a natural for librarians) and so on. Different types of flow charts were demonstrated and discussed. If you want more info, talk to me later.

Oh yeah, today started out with one of those stranded on the desert isle with a paperclip scenarios. This time we were involved in a shipwreck on the moon.

Afternoon Session: Process Improvement

A useful session on working through a process to find bottlenecks and problem areas. I was thinking through our instruction and reference desk scheduling to see if there are potential areas that could use more scrutiny for change. Of course most of the examples in this class were from manufacturing or other business.

Overall these two days were VERY useful. I now have more ideas on how to manage processes and problem solving. The university and library is in very good shape regarding potential for violence in the workplace. Good shape as in we’ve got good lights in our parking lots, security, security procedures, cameras etc…

If you’re interested in the minutia of either of these days of class please let me know. I have a thick manual that we read that I can excerpt for you. I think these classes are extremely useful and suggest any and all managers/supervisors attend.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Supervisory Session #3 Day One -- Jenny

Good morning,

I've been taking a series of two day workshops on various topics relating to management and supervision. I got one management class while in library school and it just wasn't enough. It isn't until you get into a management position that you truly discover your lack of skills. I believe that we learn to manage by being managed. In other words, we pick up all of the worst and best parts of all of the supervisors we've ever had. And if we're not very, very conscious of what we're doing, we will pick up the worst more often than the best. So I've been working on becoming a better manager. Here's what I learned on Day 1 of Session 3.

Morning Session: Customer Service

Just when I thought I knew everything about customer service (12 years as a reference librarian) I came and learned a bit more. The best part was a delightful video called “The Guest” where party guests are treated in the same manner as they were when they were in a work environment. FUNNY!! The rude clerk is a rude hostess flinging “snacks” at her guests and eventually wacking one with a serving tray.

Most importantly:

Fair or not, you’re expected to leave your baggage at the door when you come to work and your baggage should not impact your interactions with customers and coworkers. This concept and the way it was put across in the course was very interesting. I have a responsibility as a manager to insure that this unfair fact is practiced by those I supervise.

Another video classified difficult customers into three categories:

  1. Distracted
  2. Disappointed
  3. Disruptive

Not only are our customers these three types, but coworkers, and employees can be classified into these types.

There are two wrong methods of dealing with difficult customers

  1. Flight
    1. Try to avoid the situation or dealing with it
    2. Avoid blame
  2. Fight
    1. Escalate the interaction

I thought it was interesting to see the breakdown of how we can respond to a difficult person in the wrong way. The right way is apparently to:

Listen (without judgement, and with patience)
Apologize (to show empathy and that you are sorry they are unhappy)
Thank (and invite back)

Afternoon Session: Violence in the Workplace aka Organizational Well-Being

According to the Department of Labor 2.9 million workers lost their jobs in the years 1997-2001. Sixty-one reacted by murdering someone in the workplace.

OSHA reports homicide is the second leading cause of work-related deaths.

Prevention is the most important key, reference checks and background checks where appropriate. Also, paying attention to personnel behaviors, isolation, disgruntlement, belligerent behavior, threats, any behavior that seems off-norm for that employee and escalates in a negative way.

(All quotes and statistics are from the manual that was distributed at the session)

That was quite the session!

After later