Goethe is my favorite philosopher and he said, “The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.” I heard that quote when I was working as a brand new department manager just after earning my bachelor’s degree, and I think of it very often decades later.

I have been employed as a real librarian for about  8 months, now. This time has been spent evaluating current and past policies and procedures, getting to know my staff, and learning new and more efficient ways of managing a busy circulation department.

The library where I work has had many managers in the last six years, so they are a bit skeptical when someone new comes in and wants to change everything.  That is understandable and quite alright, actually.  My manager and I have worked hard to implement changes slowly and with careful consideration.

Empowerment is a buzz word that is often thrown around, similar to the encouragement to  ‘think outside the box’ of a decade ago. This month I have been focusing on the strengths of my staff, striving to find out what they love to do, and help them see how they can utilize that in their daily activities.  I have a staff member who is passionate about the comic book world, and he is now putting together ideas for a comic book club that will launch in conjunction with the summer reading program. I have a staff member who loves to categorize books, so she is the guru of the display table where we have month-long topical displays. Another staff member asked to be included in the making of signs so she can develop her creative and graphic design skills.

Each of these staffers are in a different phase of life, one is a teen, one is in his mid-twenties, while one is an emptynester.  Where they are in their life journey doesn’t matter, it is their positive attitude and willingness to be creative while doing seemingly mundane duties that is so exciting.  Excitement builds a positive work environment and that leads to the empowerment of all.

What do you enjoy and how can you implement that aspect into your current job? The ability to meld the two is a perfect way to experience empowerment!