Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What I've Learned

Today's posting comes from 37 years on this crazy little planet. I cannot take credit for the ideas below, but I hope you'll find them helpful. They were shared with me throughout my life by teachers, friends, and family who made lasting impressions. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments.

  • Praise in public; criticize in private (and do so positively even then).
  • Don't bring up the problem until you can propose a solution.
  • Listen.
  • Make somebody else feel like the most important person in the room, but do it sincerely.
  • You have something in common with every person you meet. It may take some time to find it, but it's in there.
  • You matter. Would you treat others the way you treat yourself? Probably not.
  • Take the time to find out something about somebody else. Connect.
  • Hire good people. Trust them to do their jobs.
  • "Get it looking as good as you can as fast as you can." (from an archives workshop on donor relations)
  • Smile.
  • Say "please" and "thank you."
  • When in doubt, ask.
  • Let your passion shine through.
  • Sparkle!
  • "You know more than they do." (offered by a colleague when I was nervous about my first library instruction session)
  • Give it back, or pay it forward. If you share when you can, others will share with you in your time of need.
  • You never have to say something in an ugly or meanspirited way.
  • Help people.
  • Try not to turn someone away empty-handed. "Let me find out" or "let me show you" is better than "I don't know." (learned in the library world)
  • Lead the way. "Come with me!" is more helpful than trying to give directions. (learned in a customer service workshop)
  • You can be an administrator without being a leader.
  • Say "I'm sorry," and admit mistakes.
  • It's ok to be human.
  • You can't do it alone. That's ok. It doesn't make you weak to admit that!
  • Try to understand. If you can't empathize, sympathize. (And sometimes that's all you can do.)
  • You don't have to memorize it if you know where to look it up.
  • The right kind of humor helps most situations. Don't go for the laugh at someone else's expense, though.
  • Pray. Meditate. Center. Focus.
  • Be grateful.
  • Let people know you appreciate what they do for you.
  • Do something thoughtful and unexpected.
  • Be a mentor.
  • Get involved.
  • Encourage.
  • Keep your promises.
  • Read something in print every day.
  • Leave it better than you found it.
  • Ask how you can help, then do it.
The trouble with this kind of posting is knowing where and how to end it. So, in the immortal words of Daffy Duck (from "Robin Hood Daffy"), "Yoiks and away!"

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