The Work of a Records Manager: A Bit of Advice

Publication Date01 Jan 1991
AuthorRon F. Binmore
SubjectInformation & knowledge management
Guest Column
The Work of a Records Manager: A Bit of
Ron F. Binmore
Records Managers should be highly visible, by that I mean they should be
known not only by sight, but by reputation too. They should be persons you
can talk to, discussing problems about filing and the management of
information. If at all possible they should have spent quite a few years in the
Records Management section and know who all the magpies are, their natures
and characters and where they hoard their papers. Records Managers should be
outgoing persons able to talk to the devil, sell humps to a camel and charm the
birds off the trees if need be. They should also be able to stand up in front of
class of new entrants or students and teach them the job, at the same time
gaining their confidence and respect.
The Records Manager who, because he fills a discrete post in the
organisation and sees himself as someone with specialist knowledge, goes off on
an ego trip, with his own little office, a battery of telephones and an aloof
appointment system will achieve very little. You will find there are some who
adopt this line of approach thinking they are building up their personal status
and that of their department. It is a shame that no one ever takes them to one
side and tells them how silly they are and the severity of the damage they are
causing to the organisation's records management system. They may well see
their particular post as a stepping stone to glory in management circles,
aspiring to a seat in the managerial restaurant perhaps, but they are going about
it in the wrong way.
There are others who will have been pushed into the job because it will have
been seen by someone in the Personnel Department
a convenient place to slot
them; out of sight, out of mind. They will not be interested in the work, have no
intention of getting involved, and take a back seat in the hope that it will all go
away. They will assume they are getting away with it all by doing nothing while
waiting for retirement or another move, because there never seem to be any
problems which require their attention.
Some Records Managers can be just a plain nuisance, far too enthusiastic,
picking on any small deficiency that is found in anything they review or inspect.
They poke their noses into every nook and cranny, recommending new
procedures without consulting section managers or users, procedures which do
not have a hope of surviving, or of being of any practical use. They get a bee in
their bonnet and are sure they know best then go flat out to impose their will on
everyone, creating more bad will and irritation than they realise.
Records Managers should not be people who are soft, easy targets, or persons
who will collapse under pressure from senior management when the going gets
rough. They need to be able to communicate with all levels in the organisation

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