The Three R’s – Reflection

Apr 21 2015

Reflection – a key skill, often overlooked by leaders.

Well isn’t leadership all about going forward and pushing through new ideas? So where does reflection fit into that? ‘Reflection’ can feel like one of those disciplines that we know we should do, but can very easily put off – lets face it its hardly sexy or exciting! Reflecting at key times informs the way forward with clarity and experience, to either re-create a success or make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice! Important lessons are learned, be they positive or negative. It also has a valuable role to play in celebrating successes – something that many leaders forget to do – and as our attitude and direction is very often influenced by what we focus on. Maybe a regular reflection on progress made can create even more success?

In any coaching conversation with a leader, I will at some point, want to explore ‘reality’, what’s really going on, what’s happened to date, what’s gone well, what could go better?

Time is clearly a vital ingredient here, both making the time to do it, and also allowing some time to pass to give a more objective and informed reflection on past situations and actions. It’s funny how when we look back at something we can see completely different perspectives, which were not clear at the time.

I also champion taking time to reflect ‘in the moment’, just to pause for a second and check that you are heading in the right direction. On many occasions leaders explore situations where they have wasted valuable time by ‘charging’ off in pursuit of the latest objective, only to discover they were going the wrong way. Everyone will have ‘a time’ that works best for them – my own is on my morning run, or ‘zoning out’ on a train journey or flight, just making time to collect my thoughts on what I’ve been doing and what I am about to do. I would even go as far as to say that reflection has become one of my private delights – a precious time to put things in order, make sense of this mad world we live in and re-confirm who I am and what I want to achieve – bliss.

Coming to the close of the three R’s, it has become clear to me that I would add two other main attributes of leadership – Vision and Pace – sadly they don’t begin with ‘R’, but more of these in the next articles.


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