Welcome back to First Principles February! This week is all about the second skill of kind leadership, managing effectively.
As I discussed in episodes 53 and 54, Kind Leadership is ultimately about making decisions that heal, and healing decisions are easiest to make when you are confident in yourself, your values, and in your understanding of the underlying problem.
However, generally your organization is more than 1 decision away from the better world you are trying to build. In addition, the problems that stand in the way can feel much to large and complex for your limited time, money, information, and political capital.
That’s where managing effectively comes in. This skill is all about developing repeatable decisions in the form of systems and processes that will begin shifting your institution from unsustainable dysfunction to organizational excellence.
Download the Kind Leadership Framework
Other Episodes Mentioned:
First Principles February: What Is Kind Leadership? (Challenge #53)
First Principles February: How Can Kindness Make You a Confident Leader? (Challenge #54)
To listen to more episodes or subscribe in your favorite app, head to kindleadershipchallenge.com!
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Curious about coaching? Schedule a free 30 minute chat about a current leadership challenge at https://kindleadershipchallenge.com/coaching.
This episode was produced by Podcast Boutique .
Welcome back to First Principles February! To celebrate the first anniversary of the kind leadership challenge and all the amazing growth we’ve experienced over the past year, I’m releasing a 4 part series on the basics of Kind leadership. In week 3 of this mini-course, we’re focusing on the second of the three core skills of kind leadership, Managing effectively. As I just discussed in the episodes 53 and 54, Kind Leadership is ultimately about making decisions that heal, and healing decisions are easiest to make when you are confident in yourself, your values, and in your understanding of the underlying problem. However, generally your organization is more than 1 decision away from the better world you are trying to build. In addition, the problems that stand in the way can feel much to large and complex for your limited time, money, information, and political capital. That’s where the Kind Leadership skill of Managing effectively comes in. By figuring out how to manage information overload, realistically allocate your limited resources, and develop repeatable decisions in the form of systems and processes, your school or library will begin shifting from unsustainable dysfunction to organizational excellence.
Welcome to the Kind Leadership Challenge, the podcast that empowers principled educational and library leaders to heal their organizations! I’m Dr. Sarah Clark, founder of the Kind Leadership Guild, where I use my PhD in Higher ed leadership and nearly 2 decades of experience in academic libraries to coach leaders like you who want to build a better world without burning out.
Kind Leaders aren’t perfect, and we don’t need to be. We strive to make tough decisions without becoming jerks. We design systems that enable our teams to make a big impact without overworking. And we know that once we stop controlling and start collaborating, even the most ambitious vision can become effortless. Kind Leadership is pretty simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. So if you’re up for a challenge, stick around for the next 10 minutes as I teach you how your school or library can create a resilient, thriving legacy that will strengthen your community long after you’re gone.
Welcome to part three of the First Principles February series, where I guide you through the core skills of Kind Leadership. The Kind Leadership Framework is a tool you can use to grow humanely, manage effectively, and create collaboratively so your organization can build a better world without burning out. As I mentioned last week, you can download a graphic of the framework at kindleadershipchallenge.com/skills. Today we’re focusing on the second core skill of the kind leadership framework—managing effectively. Think of it as sort of the flip side to growing humanely. Last week, as you were listening to me talk about feeling your feelings and connecting with your core values so you can become the best decisionmaker possible, I’d understand if you were rolling your eyes a bit. After all, being more confident as a leader is all well and good, but confidence in and of itself doesn’t fix the problems of a organization with too few resources, too many responsibilities, and broken processes. So now that you’ve tuned up your decisionmaking skills, let’s start putting them to good use by tuning up how your organization does what it does day in and day out.
We’ll continue working on my problem I discussed last week in episode 54—I need to get better at selling to make the Kind Leadership Guild a sustainable side hustle, but I’ve got a lot of baggage around selling and not much skill at doing it. My process of growing humanely culminated with a decision—to start testing and experimenting with various sales approaches to figure out what hits the sweet spot of helping leaders like you who are ready to invest in healing their worlds while also holding true to your personal values.
Just as the first skill of growing humanely helped me determine what I want to do about my sales challenges, the second skill of kind leadership, managing effectively, is figuring out how best to accomplish the things I have decided I need to do. Like Growing humanely, managing effectively is a three step process. The first step is getting the lay of the land by seeking out and synthesizing information into the wisdom that will help you manage your organization as effectively as possible given the challenges you face. Now, because I spent most of my pre-leadership career as an instruction librarian, and my doctoral dissertation was on how college students become better information seekers, I could and likely will do one or more episodes on avoiding information overload as a leader. But today we’re keeping it simple.
To manage effectively, you need to gather information about your organizations situation from a wide variety of sources, look for common themes, and ask yourself, what do those common themes tell me? When it came down to effectively managing my challenge of improving my sales skills, I explored a lot of resources on sales, rejecting the ones that felt slimy or undoable for my personality, and sticking with the ones that were reassuring and realistic. This process of learning and experimentation is still ongoing, but what I am learning is that I feel the most comfortable selling when people come to me, not the other way around. So I am going to need to create a marketing and sales process where I communicate very clearly about who I think I can provide the most value to as a leadership coach, explain what that value is, and create a gentle, supporting buying process for a leader who is traveling the journey from seeing a clip from my most recent episode on social media to trying out a challenge, joining my community, requesting a free resource like a zoom workshop or my Mastering Challenging Conversations checklist, and then eventually scheduling a call to do a free test drive of leadership coaching to see if we might be a good fit for each other.
Now my idea for a process sounds wise, but it also sounds pretty vague. That’s where the second step of cultivating your resources comes in. I need to balance my idea for a sales system with the reality that I work full time, have a husband and a social life, need 7-8 hours of sleep to function, and that I’m bootstrapping this whole operation out of my own pocket. No loans, no venture capital, not even a credit card. Literally my only support is my podcast editor. And I like keeping things lean and mean. However, I also want the kind leadership guild to be a going concern for the long haul. That means using my time and money in the ways that will provide enough return on investment that I can cover my expenses, bring in a little more help, and maybe even scale up my work as a coach. Depending on your leadership challenge, you might need to renegotiate some vendor contracts or change some of your team’s work responsibilities to make things more sustainable. The trick here is to free up a little of the time and money you use to keep your head above water, and redeploy it to do things that create even more time and money for you.
So now that you’ve gotten the informational lay of the land, and had a hard look at what the highest and best uses of your time and money are, it’s time to design your new process or system that you believe will help you manage your organization more effectively. A system is really nothing more than a decision that you are making repeatable, either by yourself or delegated to others. Think of it like writing a lesson plan or a cataloging workflow. You design it once, then scale it by implementing it over and over and over, only making slight tweaks as situations change or you see opportunities for improvement. My processes for my challenge of selling coaching include creating and publishing this podcast, reaching out to interested folks on social media, and other projects. I’m thinking of adding some things too, like resuming the zoom leadership workshops I was doing back during the pandemic, but I’m taking that slowly.
So here’s your challenge this week, as I invite you to explore the second step of managing effectively, by designing a system or process that will help your organization shift out of dysfunction and grow its excellence. Is there a broken or missing process in your school or library that could make things run smoother? It can be something as seemingly small as unproductive meetings or as huge as a messy budget. Gather information about how other places have dealt with the issue, consider how you can best deploy your limited time and money to address it, and determine a system that you can repeat over and over, tweaking along the way to make it even more effective. And then share your work in the kind leadership challenge community! That way we can all learn and grow together.
And speaking of growing together, that’s what we’ll be getting into next week when I conclude first principles February by introducing the final skill of Kind Leadership: Creating collaboratively.
Thanks for listening and for taking action to become a kinder leader. Do you know someone who needs to hear this week’s challenge? If so, open your app or head over to kindleadershipchallenge.com/55 and share this episode with them right now. Never doubt that day by day, you’re building a better world, even if you can't see it yet. So until next time, stay kind now.