How can we as leaders wield our power in a kind manner? Ultimately we’re the boss, the head honcho, the big cheese. Heavy is the head that wears the crown and all that, especially when you’re juggling lockdowns, mandates, a burnt-out team and a frustrated community. But what if you actually have a lot LESS power than you think? That realization can actually be pretty empowering in itself.
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How can we as leaders wield our power in a kind manner? Ultimately were the boss, the head honcho, the big cheese. Heavy is the head that wears the crown and all that, especially when youre juggling lockdowns, mandates, a burnt-out team and a frustrated community. But what if you actually have a lot LESS power than you think? That realization can actually be pretty empowering in itself. Welcome to the Kind Leadership Challenge!
I'm Sarah Clark, founder of the Kind Leadership Guild. My PhD in higher ed Leadership plus 17 years working in academic libraries from the front desk to the Deans office taught me a secret I want to share with all of you. You don't have to be a perfect leader to build a better world. And your school or library definitely doesn't need to be perfect either. Here's the deal. Educational and library leaders like you give me 5-10 minutes of your Monday morning. In return, I'll empower you to heal yourself and your school or library. No long interviews, no celebrities, no lectures, no nonsense. Just short stories and simple challenges you can implement this week. Each challenge is designed to coach you in the confidence, skill, and trust you need to let go of a little control. You and your team will begin growing humanely, managing effectively, and partnering collaboratively, and your school or library will build a more informed and educated world along the way.
There is one skill that you need most for these challenges, and everything else work and life throws at you. It's making decisions that get you and your team to your goals. Thats why I created the first Kind Leadership Guild Course, Kind Leadership Decision-making! This 8 part course gives you the toolkit to make effective, humane, and collaborative decisions. It covers decisions big and small, with timeframes short and long. And its self-paced, so you can finish it in 8 hours, 8 days, or 8 weeks. Just depends on what makes sense for you. And when you're done, you'll be able to handle any decision you're likely to encounter at work or home. Youll also gain access to a private community, regular group Zooms, a 30-minute 1 on 1 session with me, and more. For all the details, check the link in the show notes. Now, on to todays challenge!
If you can catch them in an honest mood, perhaps over a relaxing drink, many educational and library leaders will admit that we took their jobs for the power. Sometimes we wanted the power that makes them more seen and more heard. Often its partly the power to earn a big--or at least bigger-- paycheck. But the most common power of all that we want is control. In other words the power to make decisions that will steer a school or library where we want it to go. Not the detours and wrong turns that seemed to bedevil most of our own past and present leaders.
To be clear, that will to power is great, and probably necessary for a kind leader who wants to be effective. But the power of leadership only gets you so far. Because here's the catch. Control is an illusion.
Think of your team and the folks you serve like a bus. you're the bus driver. You control where the bus goes. Thats it. And even that gets kinda shaky if theres a road closure or a flat tire. You have even less control, and often NO control, over almost everything else. Who decides to board, how they behave, the assigned route of the bus, how much fuel is in the bus, the bus fare, the maintenance schedule, etc. You may have varying levels of influence over these things, but you do not have total control over almost any of them. You probably dont like this, and you may need to spend some time rebelling against this. But it doesnt make it any less true.
If you want to avoid overstressing yourself, overthinking your situation, and overwhelming your team, you have to stop using your power to take control that's not yours to take. Instead, this week I want you to hone in on the one thing you can control. Its the same thing the hypothetical bus driver can control, or anyone else on the planet. You can control your decisions. You decided to listen to this podcast today. You decided to become, or try to become a leader. You don't have control over the impact of your decisions, but you can decide what to decide, and to a large extent how to go about implementing them. And the more decisions you make, and the better you get at making them, the more you can influence--though NEVER control--whether or not your decisions will impact your team, your organization, and your world for the better.
So here's your challenge. Identify something right now that you're really struggling with. Ask yourself, in what ways am I trying to control this? How can I shift to trying to influence it? And then make a decision that empowers you to influence what you can influence, and begin to make peace with what you cant control. And share your decision with the facebook group for some accountability! Speaking of the facebook group, It can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between control and influence, especially when were in the middle of a stressful situation.
This Wednesday, February 23, at 8:30 PM eastern, I'm actually going to go live in the Kind Leadership challenge facebook group to talk more about control and influence, and answer any questions you may have related to your own challenges. Its a bit of an experiment, so well see how it goes! If you're not already a group member, hit the link in the show notes to join us. Thanks for investing a few minutes in yourself today, and if you found this challenge useful, your first job is to give us a like or review--or even better, share this challenge with a colleague! Thanks for listening and for taking action to become a kinder leader. Never doubt that day by day, you're building a better world, even if you can't see it yet. Until next time, stay kind now.