April 25, 2022

What are your Leadership Values? (Kind Leadership Challenge 12)

What are your Leadership Values? (Kind Leadership Challenge 12)

What are your leadership values?

No really, I want to think about it. what do you believe, and how does those beliefs influence the decisions you make as a leader?
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Transcript

What are your leadership values?

No really, I want to think about it. what do you believe, and how does those beliefs influence the decisions you make as a leader?

Seriously, I’ll wait. Here’s 5 seconds of dead air for you to reflect. 

...

Got your values in mind? Good. Alternately, are you realizing you need to define them more clearly? That’s fine too, as long as that realization inspires you to move forward. Because as we’ll discuss today, even the trickiest decisions that involve seemingly no-win situations are simple if you know your values. 

Welcome to the Kind Leadership Challenge, where I empower educational and library leaders 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 in this podcast I’ll teach you how to do just that.  

Here's the deal. Educational and library leaders like you give me 5-10 minutes of your Monday morning. In return, I'll share short stories and simple challenges you can implement this week to heal yourself and your school or library. No long interviews, no celebrities, no lectures, no nonsense. 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.

On May 30th I’ll be releasing a free Kind Leadership Guild Guide—Mastering Challenging Conversations. This guide is gonna come in two versions. The free version of the guide is a set of annotated checklists that you can use to plan for, conduct, and move forward from a challenging leadership conversation. This guide will be released to all current and new email list subscribers starting on May 30,2022.  But I’m also recording a bonus 5-part mini-course that will walk you through typical case studies of difficult conversations so you can practice ahead of time! When Mastering Challenging Conversations launches, that mini-course will be offered alongside the checklists as a $19 upgrade. But if you join the mailing list between now and May 30th, you’ll get the checklists and the course both for FREE. Just head on over to the link in the show notes.

I think I may have alluded to this in the past, but the Kind Leadership Challenge isn’t my only podcast. For the better part of ten years, I’ve been the cohost and co-producer of Zilch! A Monkees Podcast. The first, and oldest, and I think biggest podcast out there about the pre-fab four. My history with the podcast specifically and the Monkees in general has influenced my vision for The Kind Leadership Challenge and the Kind Leadership Guild in ways obvious and subtle. That’s a topic for another episode, because today I want to talk about a moment where kind leadership, and more importantly my values around boundaries and burnout, influenced my hobby as a Monkees podcaster. It all started with a surprise text from Ken Mills, the founder of the podcast and our lead producer.

As far as sheer skill on the microphone and the editing bay, Ken is the most talented podcaster I have ever worked with, bar none. Whatever you like about the production of the Kind Leadership Challenge, I learned it from Ken. Zilch would not be Zilch without Ken. But Ken also produces 3 other equally intricate music and pop culture podcasts. AND co-anchors an internet radio station devoted to the Monkees. AND he works full time as a graphic designer. AND he’s married with two stepsons. As I’ve said more than once on this podcast I have a tendency to work myself into burnout—but I’ve got nothing on Ken. In fact, in early 2018, he literally worked himself into the hospital.  

Fortunately, after that trip to the hospital, Ken made a lot of life changes on a lot of fronts, and is much healthier these days both physically and mentally. He let me and my other co-hosts take on more of the recording and production work, and it has become much more collaborative. We found a balance that worked for us for several years, until one afternoon last fall I got a text out of the blue from Ken. He wanted me to become lead producer of the show.    

I freaked. I’m a good editor and producer, but not a particularly fast one. A zilch episode can easily take 8-12 hours for me to record, edit and produce, with all the music clips and sound effects and different segments. I didn’t see any way I could take on the whole load of the show without sacrificing either the Kind Leadership Guild or my rest and recovery time, and those of you who listed to episode zero of the Kind Leadership Challenge know I will NEVER give up my rest and recovery time ever again.

However, I didn’t want Ken to burn out either, nor did I want to put the podcast at risk. We’ve built a community of over 10,000 in our facebook group, and have become quite well respected within the fandom, and even within the Monkees’ inner circles—a development that still leaves ten year old me gobsmacked at times. Long story short, I’m proud of what we’ve built with Zilch, so I knew we needed a solution that honored Ken’s values and mine.

So Ken and I got on the phone. I told him first and foremost that I didn’t want him to burn out, nor did I want the show to decline. But there were real boundaries to how much time and energy I could devote to the podcast. He understood and agreed. So we decided on a new structure where we would be more like co-leaders. He would still handle the big interviews and the back of house tech stuff, whereas I would produce more of the “standard” show episodes, and continue my role with co-moderating the facebook group. We tried it, and it worked well. Ken felt less pressured, and I was able to shift things around to keep my workload manageable. We’ll probably have to shift things around again as time goes on, but it’ll be easier because we are both aware of and secure in our leadership values. 

Leadership is no more or less than making effective, humane decisions in the best interests of your organization. My six keys of kind leadership decision-making are all important, but Presence is the first one in the list, because by remaining aware of yourself and the world around you, you learn more about your values. And when you have a tricky decision to make, clearly-defined values almost always make your choice obvious.

So here’s your challenge. Let’s go back to the top of the episode. Were you able to think of some values? Great! I’d like you to spend a half hour sometime this week freewriting on how those values inform your decisions as a leader—and perhaps ways in which you want to be more consistent about applying your values to leadership decisions. And if you didn’t immediately come up with a list of values, take that same blank piece of paper or computer screen, and think about some of your recent leadership decisions. What values did those decisions reflect, and are those the values you want to inform your practice as an educational or library leader? 

Come on over to the facebook group and share your values 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, we’ll dig deeper into this week’s 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 week’s 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.

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