My fellow library and educational leaders, I come to you today with an uncomfortable truth.
It’s time to listen to your shadow.
We all have things about ourselves we don't like, or try to ignore. And we leader types just tend to find a big ol’ black box, shove those shadows in, and slam the door tight.
But what would you say if I told you that your dark side might just hold the secret to becoming the kind leader you're meant to be?
(Originally released 3/28/2022)
Master Challenging Conversations
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My fellow library and educational leaders, I come to you today with an uncomfortable truth. It’s time to listen to your shadow. We all have things about ourselves we don't like, or try to ignore. And us leader types we just tend to find a big ol’ black box, shove those shadows in, and slam the door tight. What would you say if I told you that your shadow might just hold the secret to becoming the kind leader you want to be?
Welcome to the Kind Leadership Challenge, where I empower educational and library leaders like you to detox 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 few minutes of your day. In return, I'll share short stories and simple challenges designed to heal yourself and your school or library, so you can get back to making the impact you wish to see in your communities. By embarking on each week’s challenge on your own or 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.
How do you successfully navigate challenging conversations so that you can heal your team culture and acquire the resources you need to thrive?
Mastering Challenging Conversations is a free set of checklists where I show your how to apply the three core principles of kind leadership to planning, conducting, and moving forward from a challenging leadership conversation. Just go to Kindleadershipchallenge.com/conversations, enter your email and start having the conversations that will make you and your organization burnout proof, heal your team's culture, connect your organization to the resources you need to thrive, and impact your community for the better.
Again, just head on over to kindleadershipchallenge.com/conversations to learn more and get your free guide.
We all have things about ourselves that we don’t like. Frankly, it’s part of the human condition. And often, those things are not totally conscious. About 15 years ago, around the time I finished my MLIS and was promoted into my first librarian position, time management was all the rage—most notably a book called Getting things Done, by David Allen. Now, David has a lot of good things to say about managing one’s work and time in an efficient manner, and there are things from his model I use to this day. Heck, one of these days I’ll probably make him a book of the week back here sometime. But the dark side of learning how to do more in the same amount of time is that you often take on more work, in a pattern that’s unsustainable and leads to burnout.
Ultimately, the kinds of folks who care the most about time management are often the kinds of people who always need to be busy or have a project going. And they may even know that those dark impulses toward workaholism need to be controlled. So they shove ‘em down, they hide ‘em, they repress ‘em. However, because those things are part of us, whether we like them or not, those shadow impulses won't stop trying to break loose and spill out, usually at the worst moments possible.
The solution, of course, is to listen to your shadow. More often than not those less lovely parts of you are trying to protect or guide you, even if it's not always in the best way. For me, that tendency to take on more and more work to fill my days is a sign that I’m actually feeling too much pressure. And paradoxically, it’s often means I need to take a break. However, that doesn’t mean my workaholistic tendencies are in themselves an evil or bad thing—I simply have to find ways to intentionally moderate it and channel it so it serves me rather than draining my energy and steamrolling my team. And by learning what your shadow has to teach you, you can ensure that you're leading with your full self, warts and all.
What is your shadow? For me, that tendency to always have 15 projects going is a symptom of a deeper, and not particularly attractive need for control. I don't like it, but I understand it better than I used to, and I get that it's probably not going anywhere at this point. So I listen to it, but I also enforce boundaries. (I also say the serenity prayer a lot too )
So this week’s strategy is a simple challenge—Ask yourself this question: What’s one of your shadow tendencies? And how can you create or refine a healthier strategy for managing it?
Come on over to the facebook group and let us know in the episode thread. Don’t worry, it’s a private group, and we even have anonymous posting and commenting options if that makes you more comfortable. In the group, I’ll dig deeper into this topic, and answer any questions you may have as well.
Thanks for listening and for taking action to become a kinder leader. if you found this episode insightful, give us 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.