Library Journal article: What’s My Motivation?

My stance:
By way of the case study reading (see article above), I felt as though the Library Director, Mary Lawless, was incredibly reactive rather than proactive during the transition process. While I understand that each person has their individual differences and personality which in turn gives them different perspectives, Mosca’s reaction demonstrated that she did not understand the organization’s interim goal: the library operating rather than shutting off the lights and closing the doors. If Lawless had spent a little time laying some foundation work with her staff, such as clearly explaining the organization’s financial crunch, developing a game plan for the additional responsibilities, consistently employing recognition and positive reinforcement with her management-style, perhaps the Mosca-situation might not have occurred because the “unknown” would have already been answered. “Fear of the unknown” is how I chalk up Mosca’s behavior behind her interruption.
Professor Walker, in response to a fellow student’s question, stated: “…you are attempting to answer the question ‘why should I?’ when anyone in that Library could be the next person to be laid off.” In her lecture, Professor Walker provided an example in which an employee proclaimed that she, being Beth Walker (the supervisor), was responsible for motivating her. Walker’s reply was along the lines of “she is not responsible for motivating the individual person, but for creating an environment that is conducive to motivation.” I feel that Lawless has not provided an atmosphere conducive towards employee motivation.

In this specific situation, which is certainly reactive, I would first focus on “damage control” — putting out the fire which, in this case, it would be Mosca’s interruption. The article describes the feeling behind the interruption as, “The anger in Mosca’s voice grew as she went on.” Mosca used the word “we” a great deal when presenting her views. Immediately, I would give each employee individual praise in front of the group, thank them for their patience and then move onto “knowledge is power” (briefly explained in my first paragraph) which is part of appropriate crisis intervention. Before jumping into the game plan, I would discuss staff support, the importance of knowing your limit, and methods to prevent burn-out. 

Laying out a game plan would come next which includes clearly defining the end result (the goal) and how each person plays a part (roles, duties, responsibilities) in the larger picture. After laying out the game plan, I would then open the floor for a Question and Answer session. Closing the staff meeting, I would remind staff of my open door policy and schedule a special meeting for department heads to discuss staff support. By scheduling the meeting in front of the entire staff, the subordinates know that I am making an effort towards creating a better environment.

Incorporating ideas from a fellow student’s experience, Lawless should use the agency’s intranet to create a “financial crisis” page that would contain the following elements: updates, seniority lists, facts/figures, a transcript of the Q/A session (from the staff meeting), and a discussion board. Last but not least, Lawless should follow-up with each employee, individually, to give them an opportunity to ask questions and share their concerns.


And I leave you with one of my favorite scenes from the Harry Potter movie series…