Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mentor vs. Supervisor

One of the many adjustments I made upon assuming the role of Library Coordinator, was that of a supervisor in charge of evaluating the library staff. Two things are important to evaluation. First, the targets set upon by the librarian in consultation with the supervisor; and the environment set upon by the supervisor for the librarian to reach the set targets.

The targets are of course, relevant to the attainment of departmental objectives and the school's goals. The good thing about the performance appraisal tool that we use is that, it has components that evaluate a librarian's professional character and involvement to the community at large. This motivates the librarian to take a holistic stand on his development. Not only is he expected to perform well in professional competence, he is also called upon to become a professional who is empowered and aware of his worth to the community.

The process looks easy at first, but so much factors fall into place that can spell success or failure for both. The over all culture of work plays a big part in the librarian's and supervisor's performance, as well as individual perceptions and philosophies on the job and the profession in general. Now, that is where conflict can begin.

This coming school year, as I look forward to my second term, I will try not to become merely a supervisor, but a mentor too. Evaluating both the work and the performance achieved by people can be done better if there are clear expectations set by both parties. Of course, the objectives of the department and the school's goals must never be compromised, otherwise, standards will be affected. Mentoring, however, entails acceptance and humility. Such values can be nurtured when those in the ranks trust their supervisors enough to lead and guide them. Such values can be called upon to define a department or a group of people if only supervisors are willing to become colleagues who can also learn from the foot soldiers.

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