The most valuable thing we all have is time. As a mid-level administrator, my time is definitely at a premium with all the meetings I have that take me out of the library. And yet, I make sure to take time to meet one-on-one with every single person who works for me regularly. For those of you who may not know this, I'm the director of library services at a small/medium community college, and I have 17 direct reports according to the organizational chart. Yes, you read that right - 17. Sure, that's a lot of meetings, but it's important to me.
It's so important to me that I meet with everyone at least monthly, but more often if they'd prefer. So far, it's turned out that I meet with 3 of the people who work in the library on a weekly basis, 1 person bi-weekly, and everyone else monthly. Now, to be clear, these are the formal, sit down in a room with the door closed so we won't be interrupted kind of meetings. I have plenty of impromptu meetings and try to be as available as possible. But I sit down with everyone at least once a month.
Why do I do this? Let me say right away that it is not so I can be a control freak. I do not micromanage (well, mostly I don't - I do get a little huffy about self-care and trying to encourage work/life balance). It's because I want to know what's going on so I can be as helpful and supportive as possible. It's also because I want to make sure I have face time with everyone. Sure, I have opportunities to talk with full time library faculty and staff on a regular basis, but I really don't have that with part time people - with the exception of the adjunct librarian with whom I do my weekly reference desk shift. So these meetings are a way for me to give my time and attention, but they are also selfish because I wouldn't get a chance to talk with lots of my direct reports otherwise.
And what happens in these meetings? Well, that depends on who is in the meeting and what's going on in the library and at the college. These meetings are usually very informal, with shared responsibility for agenda items. I aim to have my agenda items to people ahead of time, but I fail way more often than I accomplish this. I definitely give time to think if it's a thinking thing. Some topics that come up on a regular basis:
- Work goals and projects;
- Career goals;
- Stress levels and workload.
The way I see it, it's my job to make things go smoothly for everyone who works in the library since they are the ones taking care of our patrons directly. I can't do that if I don't know what's going on, and everyone has a different perspective in the library.