Leaders: Take time to reflect

Reflection is defined as: to give serious thought or consideration. Leaders who regularly take time to reflect become more self-aware and tend to have greater insight into their own leadership abilities than those who don’t take time to practice reflection.

Not having enough time is noted by many leaders as the biggest factor as to why they don’t practice. Many feel its just not possible to cram any more into their already overbooked schedules. The interesting thing is, daily reflection can begin and make a difference in as little as a few minutes a day! Yes, that’s right – it doesn’t take long. I am a big proponent of both beginning and end of day reflection.

One practice I share with leaders is to wrap up your day and start your day in a thoughtful way. This involves the following simple practice. At the end of each day, reflect on what you’ve accomplished during the day, write it down. Then, take a moment to reflect on what you need to tackle the next day and write that down. Leave this outline on your desk (or in your notebook, laptop etc.) and put it away until the next day. At the start of your next work day – read the list of priorities and reflect on this list again. You may need to add some further items to your list. You may have had another thought come to you during the evening or on your way to work. You’ll be surprised what pops into your head once you start closing off your day and setting your new day up for success with intention and reflection. Once you’ve taken this time to set up your day – dig into it with gusto! Watch to see if this simple practice also helps you stay on track.

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Reflection can be as easy as sitting down, clearing your mind, (maybe even closing your eyes for a minute), and reflecting on the topic/issue/focus at hand. Sometimes it is helpful to ask yourself questions like the two mentioned above in closing off and setting up your day; however, there are many others to consider, such as

  • What do I want to keep in mind as I go about my work?
  • How do I want to conduct myself?
  • Is my team working well together?
  • Are there any bottlenecks?
  • How can I better support my team?

If you can’t commit to a daily practice right away – I encourage you at a minimum to consider taking some time this month, as the calendar year wraps up, to reflect on 2018. Ponder these questions: What have you achieved? What are your teams’ biggest accomplishments? Who has grown the most on your team, why? What is left on the table to do before the end of the year? How have you developed as a leader? What would you like to improve on for next year?  What are your top priorities for next year? Are you ready to tackle them? Do you need any support or further resources to do so? Is there anything that needs to be done that you are avoiding?

If you like the idea of this practice, Forbes has another good article on this topic.

Reach out to me at www.soundleadership.ca if this is an area you’d like to explore further.

Click here for some of my other thoughts on leadership.

LEAD WELL and Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

Sandra Hokansson

Sandra Hokansson
Sandi Hokansson is a certified executive-level coach and principal of Sound Leadership. Reach her at sandi (at) soundleadership (dot) ca.

Sandra Hokansson

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