Still Stunned

Kevin King —  November 17, 2016 — 1 Comment

shutterstock_116560858The 2016 Presidential Election was ten days ago and I am still stunned. Immediately afterwards I imposed a media blackout on myself and took a Facebook sabbatical because I did not want to see any headlines. My stomach was messed up and I woke up often in the middle of the night worried about the uncertainty of a man in the White House who did not remotely share any of my values. I felt alone. I wanted to be alone. I am willing to bet that these feelings were not uncommon.

Eventually, I realized that although it was understandable to want to withdraw, pulling people closer was actually healthier and a sign of a good leader. Executive coach Mary Jo Asmus recently wrote on her blog that,

It’s time to pull closer to people.

There is no better time than now to pay more attention to the people around you. Start with your loved ones, including the ones you’ve distanced yourself from during this divisive time. Move outward to friends and neighbors. And of course, be present to those who rely on you at work to lead them through their fears, anger, and disappointment.

Asmus goes on to list four things you can do to help the people feeling stunned and powerless during this post-election time. Leaders can easily adapt what she has written to help their teams cope.

  1. Care for yourself first – During times of crisis or turmoil, great leaders need to become symbols of stability and strength. This means before going to work, take care of yourself first.
  2. Be present and vigilant – Now is not the time to hide in your office. It is important to check in with your team. Asmus writes, “This is not about who won or lost, and not the time for you to express smugness or dismay. It’s the time to notice and just be there for others.”
  3. Listen to understand – Leaders that promote a trust-filled environment understand that there are times when you need to listen to someone even when you do not agree. It is important to be sure you are listening to EVERYONE on your team, no matter who that voted for last week.
  4. Have compassion – It is going to take time for many to move away from sadness and move to action. Likewise, some on your team may even want to enjoy the results of the election a little longer than you would prefer. It is important that you have compassion for both no matter which candidate you supported.

Our world is entering a time that will consistently challenge both our emotions and ability to lead. Great leaders will take on that challenge and find ways to pull their teams closer together to not only provide a sense of safety but to also inspire the team to take on the responsibility of making the library a safe haven.

Kevin King

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Kevin King is the Head of Branch and Circulation Services at the Kalamazoo (MI) Public Library. Previously Kevin led Teen Services at KPL, where he helped build a nationally recognized program. Kevin has presented all over the country on many topics including teen services, innovation, graphic novels, and programming. As a member of ALA, YALSA, PLA and the Michigan Library Association, Kevin has served on various committees and has luckily won a couple of awards. In his spare time Kevin obsesses over the Detroit Tigers, listens to music and does his best to be a kick ass dad to Abigail and Rachael.

One response to Still Stunned

  1. 

    Thanks for sharing this, Kevin. This is exactly what I have been needing to hear. On my way home yesterday I was filled with an overwhelming wave of grief. I’m planning an ice cream social at my house with some folks to talk about ways to get more involved in our communities. That has been a positive development.

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