In their book Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus define minimalism as “finding what is essential to you and for you.” They expand on this idea stating minimalism is “about stripping away the unnecessary things in your life so you can focus on what’s important.”
The main ideas in their definition of minimalism is to discover what is essential and important in your life and to you and focusing your energy on doing those things. By doing this the authors write we will be able to “find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.”
Sounds good, huh?
Leadership can sometimes seem like the opposite of minimalism. Seemingly each week a new book, article, or podcast is published explaining all the things a leader must do to be effective. If you put all the things a leader is supposed to do end-to-end, they would circle the globe at least once.
What library leaders need to do is strip away the non-essential and find the important. A leader’s energy is finite, and it can be drained quickly. Better to have it drained by the important things because then you have spent time and energy on what matters most and on what will make you a better leader.
In order to put a minimalist leadership practice into place first answer these questions
- What are the essential areas of my leadership practice?
- What are the two of three important things I have to do each day in order to be a good leader?
For me and my leadership practice those answers are
Now answer this question
- What two or three practices allow me to be both effective and efficient in these areas?
For me those are
- Communication. Works for all three areas of leadership. By communicating well I keep the vision of the library at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts and decision making; I create and strengthen relationships with people; and I am transparent as a leader and keep the library informed of what is happening.
- Reflection. By reflecting on my daily activities I can make sure I am working on all three areas of leadership each day. You can read more about leadership reflection on this post.
- Learning. Learning and growing is a constant for me. By reading, watching videos, listening to podcasts, or attending workshops I can pick up new skills and approaches that make me a better leader, communicator, and person.
If you want to give this a go but are not sure where to even start, then try answering these questions
- What excess work can I remove?
- What am I currently doing that has a low return on investment?
- Or is getting in the way of the important work I need to do?
Once you have answered these questions, get rid of those things!