Self-reflection for leaders
As a leader you evaluate and coach your team members to improve productivity and reach a higher potential. But do you take time to evaluate yourself through self-reflection?
Self-reflection allows for an increased awareness of problematic performance traits and the ability to develop solutions on how to adjust those aspects of your leadership style. Just as you would develop a performance plan for an employee you can develop one for yourself and never stop increasing your leadership capacity.
When you don’t take the time for your own self-reflection, you are essentially saying you are perfect as a leader and you no longer need to develop. This not only hurts you and your career, but you let your team down as well. It isn’t just about how to increase your effectiveness as a leader, there are a number of other benefits you can gain from self-reflection.
1. Emotional Intelligence
When taking time to self-reflect you are looking inwards. This helps to build two components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness and self-regulation. Self-awareness gives you the ability the ability to understand your emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals, and recognize their impact on others you are leading. Self-regulation involves the ability to control or redirect your disruptive emotions and impulses and adapt to changing circumstances. Building these emotional intelligence components will improve your leadership.
Becoming clear on your core values will help to strengthen your leadership integrity and lead you to better decisions. Your integrity is often put to the test during stressful and difficult times. Taking time to review your key decisions and actions in the recent past and grading them against your core values is a good discipline for leaders. Doing this consistently can solidify your values and make the decision-making process easier in the future. Integrity will not only produce benefits for you, but at the same time it will increase your expectations of your team and encourage them to perform at the best of their ability.
Confidence is crucial for leaders. It helps with effective communications, decision making, and influence building. The more you reflect on your strengths and how you can build upon them the more confident you will be as an individual and a leader. If you start to doubt yourself your team will start to doubt you as well, negatively effecting productivity and effectiveness of your team
Learning from past leaders
Dating back to the most famous leaders; Sophocles, Aristotle, Hammurabi, etc. everyone agrees that the benefits from self-flection are too great to pass up, which is ironic because self-reflection is usually the first thing someone would skip to try and “better utilize time”. It takes discipline. However, self-reflection will save even more time and money in the future. It doesn’t matter what time of the day, just give yourself some quiet time so you have a chance to explore your options as a leader and re-run challenging moments to learn from them.
Great leaders are those who inspire through their own development.