The desire to be a better human is an instinct we all have. Some choose to deliberately exercise this instinct and have learned one of the power skills – reflection. Many athletes, musicians, and performers understand the value of practice and spend thousands of hours doing so. Much of this time is spent reflecting, looking back on their performance to learn something from it.
As a leader, it is also possible to “practice;” this takes the form of self-awareness developed through reflection. Reflection is the art of learning through thinking; this is how adults learn. When you take the opportunity to reflect on what occurred you are able to correct any compromise to optimal performance.
Self-awareness is the most underused element of successful leadership.
It is the number one cited characteristic of successful leaders. When self-awareness and reflection are adopted, improvements in many aspects of one’s life can be achieved.
7 Advantages of Self-Awareness & Reflection:
1.) Increases perspective which builds connections to others.
Relationships are built on trust and understanding. In order to begin a relationship, one must first attempt to understand another’s perspective. By reflecting on interactions and increasing your self-awareness, you have recognized your differences and perhaps found common ground. This increases opportunity for empathy.
As you practice perspective taking, you develop active listening, building understanding and opening to a deeper conversation with that person.
2.) Increased creativity and innovation.
Creativity is a process of reflection, learning, revising, reflecting more and revising again. It is a process of growth. Busting out of groupthink is not possible without some grit and reflection! This increase in self-awareness is what increases one’s creativity and shifts one’s thinking.
3.) Increased self-confidence and esteem.
As a coach, working with thousands of people, I have seen many avoid looking within due to anxiety and fear of not liking what they find. The opposite is actually what happens, once you do, you learn so much about you and uncover hidden gifts that increases an authentic confidence.
This is because you recognize your strengths and the good parts of you that may have gotten lost in the struggle to fit in or handle the daily grind. You learn new ways to think and act and this improves the outcomes you achieve.
4.) Increased self-control.
The more aware you are of what is happening internally, how this impacts others, the greater opportunity one has to make corrections to what you think, feel, and do. This awareness is the root of self-control and discipline. Awareness increases one’s responsibility to change.
5.) Improved relationships.
Better relationships are correlated with better goal achievement. As managers use self-reflection to learn from their interactions, they become better at communicating, listening and being more authentic with their followers. This increases trust.
6.) Reduction of anxiety.
As you becomes aware of how you think and the pattern of thoughts, it is easier to recognize distorted or biased thinking. Once aware you can choose if this type of thinking serves you and you can change it.
When you can see when your thinking may be hijacked by the stress reaction, you can choose better and more effective ways to respond to those in our world.
7.) Personal development & increased happiness.
Happy people produce more and are fun to work with. Becoming a better person is the doorway to better leadership and greater fulfillment in life. When you tune into your thoughts, you turn on potential; new thoughts are created. New and creative ideas bubble up from a mind that is clear and focused.
Increased happiness is a by-product of reflection. When you are willing to look at mistakes, it may not feel so good, but you are exercising your natural instinct to grow and develop.
Reflection does not have to be dramatic or even take that long. Come into agreement with the part of you that wants to be your best and spend time very day reflecting on what worked and what did not. The ROI on this small investment of time will pay you huge dividends.
Would you like to learn more about becoming the best leader you can be? Or how to be happier even when work is tough? Or have resources to help you reflect and grow? We have an online library and network, just for you, to be the best leader you can be.
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