May 23, 2022

How to Cure Your End-of-Year Burnout (Kind Leadership Challenge 16)

How to Cure Your End-of-Year Burnout (Kind Leadership Challenge 16)

As I record this, the 2021-22 school year is winding down at my place of work. It’s definitely been the most “normal” year we’ve had in a while, but it’s still been exhausting in ways big and small. As I know is true for many of you, our organization is tired, I am tired, and we’re all looking forward to shifting into a different phase of the year. I normally write these episodes in batches, but I wanted to bump this one to the front of the line. Because as I was driving home the other day, I had a realization about the source of a lot of my leadership burnout over the years, as well as a possible solution.
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Transcript

As I record this, the 2021-22 school year is winding down at my place of work. It’s definitely been the most “normal” year we’ve had in a while, but it’s still been exhausting in ways big and small. As I know is true for many of you, our organization is tired, I am tired, and we’re all looking forward to shifting into a different phase of the year. I normally write these episodes in batches, but I wanted to bump this one to the front of the line. Because as I was driving home the other day, I had a realization about the source of a lot of my leadership burnout over the years, as well as a possible solution.

Welcome to the Kind Leadership Challenge, where I empower educational and library leaders like you to heal your organizations! I’m Sarah Clark, founder of the Kind Leadership Guild. My PhD in higher ed Leadership, my experience coaching, consulting, and presenting to library leaders all over the world, and a career working in academic libraries from the front desk to the Dean’s office taught me that leaders don't have to be perfect to build a better world. And now I want to share those same lessons with you.  

Here's the deal. You give me the next 5-10 minutes of your day. In return, I'll share short stories and simple challenges you can implement this week to heal yourself and your school or library. Each challenge is designed to coach you in the confidence, skill, and trust you need to let go of a little control. By embarking on each week’s challenge on your own or with the community of over 1000 kind leaders in our private facebook group, 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.

On May 30th I’ll be releasing a free Kind Leadership Guild Guide—Mastering Challenging Conversations. It’s a quick reference guide that will guide you step by step through planning, conducting, and moving forward from a challenging leadership conversation. This is a free gift to all email subscribers, so head on over to this episode’s link in the show notes, enter your email, and you’ll get it the guide as soon as it goes live.

So, like I said, the other day I was driving home from work. I found myself ruminating on all the struggles of the past months as well as worries about an ever-uncertain future. You know, the usual inner monologue of a recovering control freak. But then, and I wish I could tell you what triggered the shift, something reminded me of a positive thing we’d accomplished in the past year. And then I remembered a challenging problem we’d solved. And all the sudden, as my thoughts shifted, my spirits lifted. Not totally, but I felt like I could see a fuller and more nuanced picture of the past few months, and it was a picture we could be damn proud of. 

It wasn’t all magically lollipops and roses, but it was an honest, fuller picture that incorporated how far we’d come as well as the places we still wanted to go. And I knew that mindset shift was something I needed to share with all of you, whether you’re a school or higher ed leader dragging yourself to the finish line of the school year, a public library director nervously looking toward the Summer Reading Program rush, or any other leader in a time of transition—which feels like all of us in Late Spring 2022. 

If you are feeling tired or overwhelmed, take a moment to set those worries aside. Don’t throw them out or ignore them, but let them rest for a few minutes. They’ll wait. Then consciously consider your wins. The wins of your teammates and organization. The sticky problems you solved with creativity, perseverance, or a combination of the two. Consider the new possibilities those wins have opened up for you. And take a moment to feel those things and celebrate them, even if it’s just a quiet smile in your car on the way home from work. This isn’t about toxic positivity or ignoring the real, systemic challenges we all face. It’s about taking a moment to feel and honor the joy you feel about yourself and your team. Because that pride and that joy is the fuel that will help you manage your challenges, and coach others as they manage their challenges. If nothing else, Kind Leadership has to begin in our own heads and our own hearts, if we want to have any hope of manifesting it in the world.

So here’s you challenge—email me your win or your organization’s biggest win! My address is sarah@kindleadershipguild.com, and you can also find it in the show notes. I’ll reply personally, and I just might share some of your wins in an upcoming episode if you are comfortable with that. 

Thanks for listening and for taking action to become a kinder leader. If you found this week’s episode insightful, give it a like or review—or even better, share this challenge with a colleague!  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.

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