Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.

2005-04-24

How to Influence the Workplace with Pat Wagner

On Tuesday, April 12th at NJLA, Pat Wagner (pat@pattern.com and www.pattern.com) presented a practical workshop program to address the health of the workplace, called How to Influence the Workplace. The purpose was to cover some key strategies that anyone can use to improve the workplace.

This program's ideas are based in the psychological idea of the brain/body effect.

Basically, our choices, or the belief or ability that we can make choices, have a big effect on our bodies and how we feel.

Those who feel they have choices and feel some sense of "control" (or influence) over their environment will be in a more positive place than those who feel no sense of choice or control (influence).

Behavior has consequences and when you can choose your behavior, or your responses to others, you can have some control over the consequences of those behaviors.

The program went over three foundations of a healthy workplace:

1. Transparent Communication

Basically, everyone knows who is doing what - there are few exceptions to full disclosure.
Transparency breeds trust - go on a "gossip diet"!

Communication is "give and seek," not "give and take" - if you are out, find out what happened while you were gone.

Negative complaining to co-workers is not productive - create memos to share your opinion and document your ideas.

  • Support your library's governance: serve on committees
  • No gossip or secrets
  • Write things down and share them
  • Support and reward transparent communication
  • Reward the messenger

2. Healthy Community

People are "hard-wired" to have a good time and we need to do that at work too.
Joy and fun bond a community together.

  • Invite everyone to celebrate
  • Treat everyone as an equal, no matter how they treat you.
  • Come to work a positive performer
  • Encourage communication 360, 365, 24/7
  • Invest in workplace relationships

3. Realistic Cause and Effect

  • Write and keep agreements
  • Manners: Please and thank you
  • Seek feedback and promote consequences
  • Set goals and achieve them
  • Admit mistakes publicly

Pat's presentation was entertaining and informative and her handout included the above bullet points plus a useful list of "How We Make Things Worse," which included:

  • Generalizing (always, never, all, every)
  • Repeating the same negative stories or information
  • Assuming the worst of people you don't like
  • Ignoring or not being able to see and hear positive change
  • Telling new people only negative things about the workplace and other people
  • Exaggerating bad news and minimizing or discounting the good news
  • Distorting meaning through negative filters

So, if we can include some more aspects of the three foundations of a healthy workplace, and minimize the ways we make things worse, we can influence the workplace to be a better, more positive and product environment.

Come to think of it, it would probably work in our personal lives as well! ;-)

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