Performance Management for Supervisors

ALA's Learning Round Table /

The main purpose of performance management is to guide, support, and develop each employee, providing a consistent and comprehensive experience for their staff. It is an ongoing, collaborative process between supervisor and employee that aims to establish and clarify expectations as well as set performance and development goals. Meeting and discussing performance more than once-a-year is key to driving employee development, effectiveness, and overall contribution to the library.

Guidance for performance management is presented in two sections:

Section 1: Planning the Journey (pdf)

  • What is performance management and why it matters
  • Aligning with organization goals
  • Four steps to Individual Action Plans

Section 2: Walking the Walk (pdf)

  • Track/document performance and results
  • Provide feedback and adjust expectations as needed
  • Coach staff through challenges in meeting their goals

Key learning objectives:

  1. Supervisors will set clear expectations for their staff.
  2. Supervisors will create and document performance and development goals.
  3. Supervisors will track and implement an action plan to direct performance goals.
  4. Supervisors will use feedback and coaching to develop their staff based on the results of the action plan.

The Learner Guide for each section presents resources, activities, and reflections on the topics. The learning is self-paced and you are encouraged to go at your own speed, allowing time to apply the learning through various activities, then return to the guide to reflect on what you learned through application. For those who want to dive deeper into the content, there are additional resources listed throughout each guide.

The Training for Library Supervisors curriculum was developed by the Performance Management sub-group of the Supervisor Success Committee for ALA’s Learning Round Table in collaboration with See also, Encouraging Motivation in the Workplace and Managing Conflict for Supervisor Success.

See also the webinar, Training New Supervisors for Success: Don't Start from Scratch, on how the Indianapolis Public Library Training and HR staff used this ready-made self-paced learning, added some library-specific context and group discussions, and created a successful new learning process for their managers.

Performance Management Group

  • Katherine Adelberg, Manager, Continuing Education and Consulting, Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  • Jennifer Bollerman, Assistant Director, Patchogue-Medford Library (NY)
  • Sandra Smith, Sandra Sue Smith Consulting, and former Learning and Development Manager, Denver Public Library 
  • Daniel Wilson, Director of Library & Learning Services, American Intercontinental University

Photo: Tauranga Library staff by People’s Network on Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0