Many managers may feel they don’t have the time (or perhaps inclination) to explore and use technology in order to be more efficient. In my experience as a manager, I’ve found a set of tools that put me out in front of the technology pack, provide me with more efficient methods for communication, and demonstrate an engaging and collaborative work environment. Though I happen to be a library manager, there is no reason why these tools couldn’t provide the same results to other types of managers.
No matter your age, it’s important to embrace new communication technologies. In particular, I’ve found text messaging and instant messaging to be highly effective in working with my staff. Most likely your organization has an instant messaging tool. Are you using it? Text messaging is particularly useful if you have a younger staff (under 40) and there are tools such as Group Me that lets you group message. By integrating around Google products such as gVoice, gMail, and gDocs managers have the ability to have a personal database with all the communication and document resources in one place. For example, collaborative work functions very well using Google Docs because it’s an anytime/anywhere solution with built in tracking. Do you post your email address on invoices and other communication from the organization?
In addition to tools that help you communicate and collaborate more effectively, managers should embrace the use of social media to stay informed and stay connected with the profession. The big players, who aren’t going away any time soon, are Facebook and Twitter. Have you taken the time to learn these tools and apply them professionally? In my career, these tools are one of my primary sources of professional development.
In addition to effective communication, managers are always looking for methods to increase efficiency. I’ve already mentioned a couple of the tools above, but this can be expanded to include Google Calendar, Doodle, and Remember the Milk (RTM). The calendar is a powerful tool providing many layers of calendaring and sharing. Do you have an organization where you can’t schedule meetings because everyone doesn’t use the same calendar tool? Then Doodle is a useful solution for scheduling meetings. Keeping our tasks in order, with useful text reminders, is something that RTM can provide anyone for a small fee. One final piece of technology that I can’t imagine living without is Dropbox. This cloud-based storage service is dead simple to use, very secure, and gives users access to files from anywhere (plus is a good backup solution).
I’ve only highlighted a few of the possible technology tools that managers can use to be more efficient and effective. As a manager, I use each of these on a regular basis and have integrated them into my work flow. If you’d like to learn more about how this works, then join me for two workshops on June 2 and June 9. It’s being provided by ALA TechSource under the name Using Technology in Library Management: Skills for More Efficient Administration and Communication.