The Rookie Manager: What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Managing

November 13, 2013

by flickr user sean bonner (cc by-nc-sa 2.0)

by flickr user sean bonner (cc by-nc-sa 2.0)

There has been a LOT going on with my team over the last couple of months, but I can’t really talk about it here.

I’ve navigated disciplinary issues, inter-department relationship building (and repair), personality conflicts, issues of motivation and attitude, and more — but I haven’t been able to write about any of it because I manage a small team and no matter how I reframe the situation or obfuscate identities, anyone who knows my team and reads my posts will know who I’m talking about. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting in private diary entries and in the exercises I’m doing with this book, but that’s not the same as having to frame thoughts coherently for an audience and being able to exchange experiences and ideas with others. I’m also seeking advice from other managers and other people within my system, but again, that’s not something I can really share widely.

There’s one situation in particular that’s been unfolding over the last six weeks or so that gets to the heart of why people come in to work, what they want out of a job, and how we work with others that I really wish I could explore here but can’t figure out how to write about without betraying my staff members’ trust.

When I started this new role as a supervisor, I didn’t realize how much of my work I wouldn’t be able to talk about. It’s hard to deal with that because I’m so used to openly sharing what I do at work in the spirit of collaboration and co-learning and now I can’t do that. I’d also been hoping to blog more regularly, but largely not being able to talk about the management parts of my job has made that hard. I can still talk about the librarian stuff I’m doing (and I intend to!), but it’s tough not to talk about the manager stuff I’m doing.

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