Management Series, Part II: The Power of Process Fairness

by Laura Forshay, Professional Development Manager, METRO

During this transformative period for libraries, managers must implement new programs, adapt to smaller budgets, adjust existing procedures, and enforce any number of other administrative changes. Such transformation isn’t easy on anyone, especially library staff. While some managers may rely on a “you can’t always get what you want” approach, there is one powerful tool that can generate increased team acceptance in any situation: process fairness.

20140325_ProcessFainess.jpgProcess fairness asks managers to be more inclusive of staff in their decision making. In return, it creates happier, more supportive teams. Managers gotta do what they gotta do, to a certain extent. Yet many don’t realize that their approach in relation to staff has a significant impact on the team’s ability to accept and adapt to change.

You can imagine that Team A, whose leader provided advance notice, solicited their opinions, and explained his or her final decision, would be more satisfied than Team B, whose manager sprung a change on them at the last minute with no information. Even if these teams are facing the exact same outcome, it’s how the outcome was reached that has such an important effect on staff.

Libraries pride themselves on providing valuable services to their communities, but it is difficult to get great service from a disgruntled staff. Process fairness allows managers to make the tough decisions that they face on a daily basis without worrying about how to get the team to follow through. All it takes is transparency and consistency.

To learn more about transparency, consistency, and how to implement process fairness in your library, join us for the Management Institute on Wednesday and Thursday, April 23rd and 24th. More information and registration available at