Self reflection is key to effective leadership

Often leaders are looking for new tips and tricks to improve the productivity among their team members. But putting time aside to improve your part in leading the team is absolutely crucial.

When you don’t take the time to self reflect you are basically saying that you are a perfect leader and there is no reason to take time to think about how you can grow and improve. This outlook doesn’t just hurt you and your career development, it also lets your team down as well.

When common problems arise within the team self reflection offers the chance for you to ask yourself what actions you could’ve taken to avoid problems, or what part you played in creating the problem. With that being said, it’s also important to remember that self reflection is critical in negative situations, just as it is in positive ones.

What does self reflection require?

Self reflection is taking the time to give deep thought to your actions, behaviour, character and beliefs. This allows you to develop an understanding about yourself, and determine exactly what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how you’re going about it. However, in order for it to be effective you need to to be brutally and openly honest with yourself. This will help you to face those uncomfortable truths. When self-reflecting the question to ask yourself are endless.

When something positive occurs, you could ask yourself:

  • Why did I succeed this time compared to other times?
  • Did I feel in control of the situation?
  • What motivated me to do well?
  • How did my actions influence the team result?

When something negative occurs, you could ask yourself:

  • Where did I go wrong?
  • Why did I make a mistake this time?
  • How did my actions negatively impact the team?
  • Did I make a mistake due to lack of knowledge or did I misunderstand something?

Benefits of Self Reflection

  1. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence involves the two components of self-awareness and self-regulation. Self awareness gives you the ability to clearly understand your strengths, weaknesses, emotions and acknowledge your impact on those you are leading. Whereas self-regulation involves your ability to control disruptive emotions and and adapt to a changing environment. By including self reflection in your daily routine you can change how you see yourself and how other people see you.

  1. Integrity

Integrity in leaders refers to being honest, trustworthy and reliable. A leaders integrity is often compared to their competition, and put to test during stressful and difficult situations. Taking the time to rate your decisions and actions against your core values is a great discipline for leaders. This way you can also try to see how your employees would be feeling from certain decisions you have made. Ultimately, leaders with integrity practice what they preach and own up to their mistakes, which works well at gaining trust from employees.

  1. Confidence

Believe it or not but confidence plays a big role in effective communication, decision making and influence others. The more you self-reflect and identify areas you need to improve in, the more confident you will be as a team leader and individual as you have a clearer understanding of your capabilities and downfalls. The minute that you doubt yourself your team will start to doubt you, and then before you know where you are this has negatively impacted the productivity of your team.

You have to put time aside

Whilst it may seem to be the easiest thing to take off your to-do list on a Friday afternoon at 4.30pm, please don’t. All we’re asking for is at least 5 minutes a day – treat it like a bit of self-love. Also remember you can influence other people to behave in particular ways, but you only have complete control over yourself. This means that any goal you want to achieve whether you are in a team or solo – it has to start with you. Everything else after you is consequential to how you are as a leader.

Whilst this exercise can be uncomfortable because it means you have to take an honest look at yourself (let’s face it none of us love to admit when we’re wrong), the benefits are endless towards your leadership development.

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