Managing your relationship with your boss by Jamie LaRue

This is a follow-up to my previous post: managing five relationships to become a successful director. Today we look at your relationship with your governing authority.

Make them look good

The first dictum in managing your relationship with your boss is this: make them look good. I say “them” because for most public library directors, their boss is a board. How do you know who the boss is? To quote my friend Pat Wagner, “the boss is the one who signs your paycheck.” The boss isn’t the only important player, but it’s not a bad place to start.

In some cases, a board may be advisory. That is, while its members may well advise the director on library business, those governing decisions are made by someone else (a mayor, a town council, a board of county commissioners).

In other cases, the boss is someone else in the governing body’s hierarchy. I once reported to the head of Cultural Affairs. There is an advantage to having a single boss: it’s easier to figure out what matters to them, and to deliver it.

It happens that I attended a town council meeting where my boss was asked a question about something that nobody seemed to know much about. She punted. I came back from the meeting and with my reference librarian, prepared a concise overview of key articles and current thinking on the topic. The next day, I presented it to my boss. She was surprised. “Why did you do this?” I said, “The next time you get asked a question about this, I want you to be the smartest, best-informed person in the room.”

Unsurprisingly, my boss became a strong advocate for my program, as well.

Read the full article @ LinkedIn

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