Why business leaders need to practice reflection in 2022

7 months ago by Carys Pegrum
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“Follow effective action with quiet reflection.

From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

Peter Drucker

Research shows that deliberate, structured and regular reflection is a critical and effective method used by the most successful business leaders.

The past two years have shown us that, in this uncertain world – and in highly disruptive situations, we cannot rely on the digital world alone.

We must go inside ourselves to analyse and evaluate past events in order to learn, develop and understand. Only then will we be able to rely on ourselves in similar situations in the future. Through reflectiveness, we can make better and more confident decisions.

We all have to make decisions in the moment. But how often do we move between fixing problems without asking what went well and what we could have done differently?

Reflective learning is so powerful because it allows us the time learn from mistakes, deal with unfamiliar situations by recognising connections with a past events and question our assumptions to make better decisions.

How to practice reflection

1. Put it in your diary. Reflection is a personal process, there’s no right or wrong way. But it’s a valuable practice which you must stick to. Once a day, every week, once a month – whatever suits you. But don’t skip it. Commit to regular reflection to benefit most from the results.

2. Identify the questions. Write down what you need to ask yourself, such as how did that feel, what did you want to achieve from a situation, what behaviours did you notice, what were your strengths and weaknesses and what interests you most from the incident?

3. Evaluate. Once you have done this a few times, look back at what you’ve written and you’ll begin to see patterns emerging. Behaviours you’d like to change, things which you’re great at and perhaps ways in which you can develop further. It’s important to remember that reflection is not about blame or failure. It’s about helping us to learn from positive situations too.

4. Act upon it. Sometimes, merely gleaning that information is powerful enough, and you may be able to take steps alone to adapt or adjust. It’s also useful to simply celebrate your wins. Or it may be that talking to a colleague, mentor or other third party could help you grow even further.

5. Pass it on. Sharing reflective practice could help your team flourish. By building this into your own, and your workforce’s culture, you’ll likely support them in their furthering their own professional development.

Research from the Harvard Business School on staff in call centres showed that employees who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting about lessons learned, performed 23% better after just 10 days than those who did not.

And a study of UK commuters found similar benefits when those who were asked to use their commute to think about and plan for their day, were happier, more productive and less burned out than those who didn’t.

So, for any business leaders reading this and wondering where the ROI is…there you have it!

If you’ve reflected on the last year and would like to make changes to your recruitment process in 2022, please get in touch.