How often do you take the chance to reflect on your leadership? How important do you see that learning is to your leadership? Learning about yourself? Learning about others? Learning skills to be more resilient, creative, and innovative?
The concept of reflection is not new. However, we often overlook it or kid ourselves into thinking that we do it already. We need time to do this. Reflection does not take place in our head. We usually need to get what is in our head onto paper or into some creative form to process it. The saying is that we learn from experience, but it is reflecting on our experience that creates the learning. This is evidenced when the same thing comes up repeatedly until we learn from it. If we do not reflect on it to learn from it, it shows up again and again. When we have learned from it, we know it, we recognize it, and we deal with it in the moment. It becomes second nature for us to do so.

If we are to model the way as leaders, which we do whether we realize it or not, we might want to be intentional about our reflection. Reflection requires deep thought, critical thinking, and empathy about how potential actions may impact others. What is it that we are trying to achieve with our leadership? How do we pave the way for our development and the development of our team members? How do we navigate the sticking points, uncertainty, diversity? How do we want to show up in these situations?

In a recent experience, I chose not to speak up about something that did not sit well with me. I was not thinking on the spot but sensing that something was amiss. Instead of asking what others thought, I let it stew, made assumptions, and had to reflect about what it was that might have been going on for myself and others. I eventually addressed it which then led to influencing the system that I was in. Despite having spoken my truth, it was still not sitting well with me because I had judgments about it. Subsequently, when I remembered Brené Brown’s Living BIG concept, I was able to let it go. Boundaries Integrity Generosity. I had set my boundaries and had kept my integrity around my values, but I was not generous in my assumptions about some of the others involved. When I applied the generosity lens, I realized that we were all doing our best from our various perspectives and, then, I was able to let it go.

I wanted to take it further, reflect on it, and learn from it so that I could speak up earlier in similar future situations. Now, I have some “go to” phrases for when I sense something is going on but I’m not clear about what it is yet. Even though I know I will not be able to fully articulate myself, I can say “I feel like something is amiss here. I am curious about what is going on for others.” or a similar, relevant statement and question. This will open the door for others to speak and provide their reasoning which creates the possibility of additional perspectives and finding common ground and will also give me time to process further to articulate what is amiss for me and speak to it. This will expand my leadership. Had I not reflected on it, I would likely repeat the same thing over again in the future.

Does this resonate?

Yours in vulnerability,