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Beth Graybill

  /  Articles   /  Identifying Your Shadow

Remember how we used to play shadow tag as kids?


We’d race around at morning recess or down the street after school, jumping on one another’s shadows or running away as fast as we could so we didn’t have to be “it” (remember these days?).


We would stand and compare our shadows. And depending on how the sun was rising or setting, we’d laugh at the crazy shapes we saw on the ground, no matter our size or build in real life. In fact, some of the smallest kids cast the tallest shadows—which made them feel mighty in those moments.


While most of us no longer spend our days playing shadow tag—unless you work in a really fun office environment or work from home—here’s the reality: we still cast a shadow.


We cast a shadow with our presence, our words, our emotions.


We cast a shadow with our absence and our indifference.


We cast a shadow with the climate we create around the office, and the way we make people feel about themselves when they’re around us.


So what kind of shadow are you casting these days?


Meaning . . .

  • What’s the climate you are creating in the office, in your home or with your peers?
  • What’s it like to be on the other side of you?
  • Are people tiptoeing around you, afraid of your response?
  • Or are they more confident because of your presence and your support?


If you really want to know what kind of shadow you cast, ask someone.


Ask a teammate what it’s like to be on the other side of you. Ask your spouse, significant other or close friend how you make them feel about themselves when they are around you. Ask your children what it’s like to spend time with you. Ask your boss or direct report what it’s like to work with you.


If you work in an environment where people are hesitant to be honest, or your peers are afraid of how their response will affect your relationship—don’t be afraid to ask for help! Creating a safe climate where your peers have the confidence and trust to share this kind of feedback directly with you takes time and often requires the guidance of someone on the outside.


If you’re interested in learning more about the Leadership 360 Feedback I offer leaders and teams, OR if you have questions about doing this process on your own, let’s chat! Contact me at