As we all know, the pandemic has put more stress on libraries to survive, thrive, and serve, even as resources - budget, personnel, and physical access to facilities and collections - shrink. The ability to negotiate with managers and leaders, both inside and outside of the library, has become necessary for library success and career advancement. Successful negotiation means the ability to ask for what you want so that the other parties say yes and everyone benefits. Are you trying to stabilize a budget, promote new services, collaborate with other organizations, find institutional champions to support the library in committees and board meetings, or advance you own career through increased wages and benefits, promotions, or a new job?
Although some popular books advocate a cutthroat approach, the truth is that almost all theories of negotiation and personal influence begin with empathy for the other person’s points of views and priorities. Topics including managing positive relationships “up the food chain” with financial and political decision-makers, building trust and respect with your library’s stakeholders, researching the big picture, setting specific goals, creating multiple solutions (so you don’t show up empty-handed to the table), and keeping an eye on the “Long Game,” meaning not sacrificing long-term success for short-term gains.
« Increase funding and political support.
« Improve influence with decision-makers.
« Build/maintain positive relationships with wide range of community members outside the library during divisive political times.
Improve Your Negotiations for Career Advancement and Your Library’s Success
Pat Wagner is a trainer and consultant with 40 years of experience working for libraries, universities, local government, non profits, and small businesses. She supports the success of libraries with programs on personnel, supervision, management, leadership, marketing, strategic planning, project management, and communication. Pat has worked with libraries and library organizations throughout the United States, from the smallest rural storefronts to the largest academic and urban library institutions. Pat also is a frequent speaker at state and national conferences. She is known for her good-humored and practical presentations.
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