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?
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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! 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 Dean’s office taught me a secret that 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, it definitely doesn't need to be perfect either. So 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 for all these challenges, not to mention the rest of the drama doubt and dysfunction at work that leaves you overthinking, overworked, overwhelmed, and just plain stuck. That’s why I created the first Kind Leadership Guild Course, Get Un-Stuck! This 8 part course gives you the toolkit to make effective, humane, and collaborative decisions. And in so doing, you and your team will begin healing that drama doubt, and defensiveness into the Trust, Confidence, and Excellence that will empower your organization to build a better world. Get Un-Stuck covers a simple process to help you make decisions big and small, with timeframes short and long. And it’s self-paced, so you can finish it in 8 hours, 8 days, or 8 weeks. Just depends on what makes sense for you. You’ll 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 today’s challenge! 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. And keep an eye out for this week’s Wednesday livestream in the group, where I’ll dig deeper into this topic, and answer any questions you may have. 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.