So much for deadlines.
The young people who work for me are traditional college age students 18-21. Many come from preparatory schools, though not all. The libraries actually do a good job of recruiting students of color, and international students. The international students are perhaps as privileged as our majority students are. Frequently they are recruited from programs like UWC International. Some of our international students are at Colby, in part, on a “can pay” basis. Meaning they are paying entirely out of pocket. A few of our students come from working class backgrounds. One might presume that such a talent pool should make hiring easy. Alas, excellence in academics and sports does not necessarily translate to a good work ethic or an appropriate professional demeanor. Frequently their work experience is very limited sometimes constrained to summer camp staff or even volunteer work. All of that aside we are talking about some very intelligent, focused and hardworking young people. Out of this pool, we train and develop student employees. Moreover, from those we train we recruit student supervisors. We require that student supervisor’s interview with our entire permanent staff, five of us, and one aspect of their interview is to come prepared to teach us something. I have learned to make peanut butter sandwiches, various origami… things, how to play Angry Birds, and one person taught us to triple jump, as a sampler.
Wait, the UPS driver just called. “How is your driveway?” “You might not want to come up.” “Can you meet me in 10 minutes?” “I’ll be there.” So, now I have to ask you all to hold that thought while I go read Chapter Six…. Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, ok, I am back.
And, I have to say that our authors may be good teachers, good instructional designers, but they are not good philosophers. They are making the notion of “understanding” do too much work; as best I can see “understanding” is every step in and the whole of cognition. I will whine about this more in the forums and here instead focus on the work Owen requires. First, “create a brainstorm.” Then sort that crap out:
- Worth being familiar with (wbfw)
- Important to know and do (Itkad)
- Big ideas and core tasks (core)
Taking the Step up to Supervision
Awkward: (itkad, perhaps even core)
- supervising former co-workers (peers)
- supervising “Friends”
- supervising seasoned employees (people on the job longer than you)
- being accepted by your new peer group
- getting the supervision you need
- dealing with colleagues who applied for the position you got
- discomfort with being in the middle
Organization Mission and how promotion changes ones relation to it(core)
Core Leadership Theories (wbfw)
Leadership Styles (Itkad)
- Effective and extensive listening skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Crucial conversation (the ability to say the truth and maintain trust and respect)
Project Management/Delegation (itkad)
- Product development and delivery
So, this is the rough shape of the brainstorm. This is just pulling crap out of my head. I am sure I have forgotten important stuff. I am equally sure that I need to put meat on these bones.
First enduring understanding: If my expectations are unclear, the employee’s performance will be vague as well. Corollary to that, doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results is simply stupid.
I think this is important to me as leader. It keeps me honest when I assess employee performance. It keeps me honest as well when I am not getting the performance I want from employees. Perhaps I need to ask for, train, role model, coach in a different way to achieve different results.
Second enduring understanding: leadership is what we do with people, including ourselves. Management is what we do with money and stuff (glibly speaking for librarians, books, for example). Both are important and both require different, perhaps unrelated knowledge and skills, even talent.
I think it is hard to be excellent at both sets of skills. In a purely subjective universe, I prefer leadership skills at optimum levels and management skills at good levels. I believe that is true currently. I wonder about it in the future as we replace people with technology here I am thinking about Amazon’s web site replacing cashiers and customer service personal, and their robotic retrieval system replacing warehouse staff, for one example.
Third enduring understanding: Communication, communication, communication getting it all done depends upon excellence in communication in all forms.
This is hard to learn. It is hard to be a good writer, it is hard to be a good speaker, it is hard to paint or draw well, and I know nothing about music, or dance. Yet I can see every day that when I get it right(and that is tentative, fleeting and subjective) the work gets easier.
Now because I find our authors to be confusing on “understanding” I am going to have to circle back to the final element of this assignment. “Once you’ve created a list of content priorities and identified the big ideas, the next step is to craft the wording for your “Enduring Understandings.” In pursuit of this goal, read Chapter 6 in the Understanding by Design text.” I am looking forward to a lively conversation in the forums because I think we have to get a much clearer grasp of what we mean by this if we are going to make it central to our instructional design.
Owen, are we heading in the direction you hoped for this assignment?