Notes from DEAD WOOD Session

This session intrigued me. Beyond those employees that have never want to embrace technology (yes, there are a few still out there), Ezell made some good points. Here powerPoint, filled with images of beautiful young adult faces and trendy clothes was a tad distracting! Good info though:

Dead Wood: Staff Who Won’t Work and Can’t be Fired : Charlaine Ezell, library consultant

Dead Wood staff are:

Marginal employees – do not meet the standards of the library fully.
No longer contributing
No longer making a valuable contribution
No longer producing, work slowdowns
A person who might be in love with the past and not the newer ways of doing things
Do not want to deal with another new idea

Keeping poor performers has blocked good employees from advancing in PLs

To the Admin:
Your employees know who the Dead Wood is on the staff
If you, the director, refuse to deal with deal with Dead Wood the staff will know and not respect the library’s administration
There is no greater disrespect you can do to a person then to let them stay in a job where they are not respected or advancing.

Two types of Dead Wood:

Benign: uninterested in the work the library is trying to accomplish
Malignant: actively work against the library

Characteristics of Dead Wood:

Grew into condition on the job after many months or years
Low profile
Redefined work to be easy
Never early
Never stay late
Keep a routine..never deviate

Not always old but longterm employees

Talking to the Dead Wood (surreptitiously interviewing employees named by admin as DW!)

Slow to verbalize
Lateral transfers never promotions
Claimed never to meet with their supervisors
Or they talked to them all the time
No job identity
Not a lot of outside interests
Sense of passivity
Spoke about work “as it used to be...their peak...a long time ago.”
“I deserve this job” (former contributions carry weight)

How some libraries have dealt with Dead Wood:

Face problem directly and show them the door (very rare)
Live with it. Live with them.
Try to change them (state expectations and follow through)
Find the good staff and concentrate on them!
Change their job duties
Restructure the work and the load
Change their schedules (Unions can intervene)
Change where they work

Posted: Thu - February 26, 2004 at 05:16 PM