Problem employees include those unwilling to be led, unwilling or unable to take direction. Unwillingness to be led is a form of arrogance. The person is so firm in his or her belief in the right way that he or she ignores messages to the contrary. Those unwilling to be led, who don’t do the work requested, risk dismissal. This dismissal may be slow in coming, given the carefulness of most human relations processes,. The employee may gain a false sense of security. But things can change.
Documented unwillingness or inability to respond to clear goals can result in being transferred to a position that does not involve supervision or other lacking abilities. Having a witness to unacceptable performance previously-rumored-but-never-seen can result in immediate dismissal for cause.
A library’s path to success depends on staff at all levels responding to the needs of the larger organization. The library leader must know the goals of the parent institution and adjust the library’s efforts accordingly. Staff at each level of the library must follow suit. This should not stifle innovation, assuming that the innovation serves the larger goals. The best employees respond to the larger goals and directions. The most exasperating ignore the organization’s goals and instead do what they prefer.
One may get away with this for a long time. But, take care. Circumstances change. What you are not doing may overshadow what you are doing well.
Part of your job is making your boss’s life easier. Even when that boss had obvious flaws, he or she is still the boss. Making your boss’s life difficult by ignoring direction is risks crossing the line between valued employee and dead weight.
See also Collateral Damage (July 2012) and When Pretty Good Is Good Enough, January 2013) in this blog.