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TCFP065: THE VALUE OF REFLECTION IN LEADERSHIP

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! The last few months have flown by. You’ve likely either made or been on the receiving end of many decisions. You’ve spent a lot of time working on new projects and proposals and adjusting your yearly plan, but have you spent any time reflecting? Reflection helps you find solutions to the problems that you face and it enables you to avoid repeating your mistakes. In this episode, Jeff highlights the three reasons people avoid dedicating time to personal reflection and gives six steps that will help you make the most of the time you spend reflecting.

Self-reflection at its simplest means taking time to think, examine, and review yourself as part of your personal leadership development. Reflection in leadership means carving out time to review yourself as a leader and is critical for your development. It also means examining your current level of skill, your strengths and weaknesses, and how you influence others. When you reflect, you gain a deeper understanding of your values, goals, and ambitions. Reflection also accelerates your ability to better understand others and differing perspectives.

People avoid reflecting for these three reasons:

  1. They want to avoid pain or guilt.

  • Sometimes we avoid reflection because we aren’t proud of the outcome or the pain our decisions may have caused.

  • We have all been hurt, and the pain can keep us from reflecting on the experiences.

  • If you did the hurting, you might feel guilty. So, to avoid feelings of guilt, you could choose not to think about the situation at all.

Q: Have you ever hurt someone or been hurt in a business situation? Describe how you dealt with those emotions. Did you think about the situation a lot or brush it off? Did you hold on to your belief that you were right or did you ultimately change your belief and apologize? If you were in a similar situation, what would you do differently?

2. They are afraid to be wrong.

  • Facing our mistakes and learning from them takes courage.

  • It takes courage to lead. Leadership is self-taught and few learn well without some failures.

  • To be a great leader, you will need to not only make mistakes but you will also need to own them and learn from them!

Q: Why do you think leaders are afraid to be wrong? Have you ever avoided a confrontation or reflection exercise because you were afraid it would expose a weakness? What were the results of that situation? If you could do something differently, what would it be?

3. We think we do not have enough time

  • Everyone has time for what is important.

  • Some leaders allow themselves to get so busy that they lose effectiveness.

  • Are you running the business, or is the business running you?

Q: When did you last make time in your schedule to reflect? What were the results? What were you hoping to get out of the experience that you did not? How can you get different results next time?

There are 6 key steps to reflection:

1. Describe what happened.

2. Examine the feelings you—or others—may have experienced during the situation.

3. An evaluation stage that explores what went well and less well in the situation. This helps us to adapt our actions to avoid making the same mistakes again.

4. Analyze, test, validate, and adjust your own assumptions and views of the situation.

5. Conclude by reflecting on what else could have been done to improve the outcome.

6. Consider how you could respond n the future if a similar situation arises.

Q: Which step do you think is the most important? Why? If you have spent time reflecting before, did you skip any of these steps before? What difference do you think the extra step will make?

Application Activities

  1. Schedule time to reflect in your schedule! An easy way to do this is to reflect for 5 minutes at the end of every day. If you want to be more structured, reflect on a particular situation once a week or 20-30 minutes or your yearly goals once a quarter for several hours. Whatever you decide, block off some time in your calendar and decide that nothing else is going to take that place!

  2. Reflecting on a team is equally as important. Think about a project you are currently working on. Schedule time a few days after the project is completed to meet up with your team and go over the six steps listed above. Stress to your team that it is important to be open and honest so that you can accurately understand how the project went and how the team members and/or customers were effected and changes can be made before the next project is planned.

  3. Think about the last time you learned from a mistake. What did you learn? How did it affect you and those around you? Write down a few things that you learned and journal about the experience. If you use a gratitude journal, write down why you are thankful for the experience! Make an effort to frame your past and future mistakes with a perspective of gratitude to make the experience more positive.

Connect with Jeff

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Email: jeffhancher@thechampionforum.com

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