Library Leaders

November 17, 2006

Organisational respect and burnout

Filed under: employee issues,management issues — wenlib @ 3:26 pm

Knowledge @ Wharton ( has an interesting article this week on employee burnout, and the importance of staff feeling that their work is respected. 

A familiar example: “Barsade, for example, cites a project she did for the real estate, accounting and legal departments of a large financial services agency. ‘The people in these departments were known as “non-producers”. That wasn’t their formal title, but it was what they were called because they were not revenue generators…”

Libraries can easily fit into this trap as well. The current and ongoing woes of the staff of the Health Canada libraries is a clear example. Because the political decision-makers do not value the services of the libraries, they are under threat of closure -employee stress climbs.  In other workplaces, it may be more subtle, as seen with the “non-producers” epithet.

The article goes on to describe some of the questions used to measure “respect” . Staff feel respected when they are treated with dignity ; when their ideas receive attention from supervisors ; when cultural diversity is valued ; and when staff are encouraged to be creative when solving problems. 

I worked for a time in a very large firm – and bless them, they tried to make staff feel appreciated. They had superstar programs, and encouraged staff to recognise special efforts and distributed kitschy gee-gaws. It all rang hollow. Ultimately, it’s what you experience between your immediate supervisor and your officemates which make you feel as though your work matters.

As leaders, how well do we receive information/ideas from others?  Do we allow our staff to be creative and to take reasonable risks?  (Very hard to weigh the benefits of letting a junior learn from a mistake vs making sure something is done right the first time).  Are we burning out our employees by doing all their thinking for them?



November 14, 2006

Generations in the Library – Sources

Filed under: employee issues,library profession,management issues — connie @ 11:20 am

I am currently working on an article regarding generations in the library, and thought you might find some of the sources I have found to be interesting:

The Millenial Invasion: are you ready? by John J. DiGilio and Gayle Lynn-Nelson, Information Outlook (November 2004).

You Walk with Your Walkman; I Run With My Ipod: The Challenges of Multi-Generational Teaching by Gayle Lynn-Nelson.

Generations at Work – website – see especially papers section

GenX/GenY Caucus of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) – resources webpage


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