2020 has undoubtedly seen us living and working in a VUCA world where leadership skills  have been tested. December is a great time to review the lessons that have put before us and understand what went well and what we could improve on.t  There is much to reflect upon that we can use to expand our minds and skill sets  as leaders.  You may have heard that we learn from experience; however, it is from reflection on our experiences that we learn.

The importance of reflection

My clients tell me that one of the great benefits of their coaching is to have a reflective time with an objective third part that they trust and who is outside of their immediate environment. These leaders of leaders find additional perspectives during our coaching sessions, which help them, to account for how far they have come, what they have learned, and how they can continue to learn and apply that information  to specific, relevant life and leadership challenges and opportunities. This is especially helpful in a VUCA environment.

Ready for some reflection?

Grab a journal or notepad and a quiet space.

For a couple of minutes, close your eyes and take some deep breaths.  Notice the rise and fall of your breath in your chest and abdomen.  Notice your breath entering and leaving your nostrils.  Relax.  

Once you’re feeling centred, consider and write – in free flow format – your answers to the following questions:

  1. How did you react or respond to the initial impacts of Covid for yourself and your team?
  2. What did you do as a leader in 2020 that supported you to feel stable and be agile?
  3. How did you support your team to navigate the complexity of 2020?
  4. What did you do as a human being in the midst of our united crisis?
  5. In general, what supported you through the year?
  6. What distracted you or got in your way that you overcame?
  7. How did you overcome the obstacles?

Application of Leadership Reflection Lessons

From your answers to these questions, what learnings do you see that apply to your leadership in the future?  How do they inform who you are and who you want to be as a leader? Are they just applicable in a VUCA environment or are they always relevant?

Now, take a few minutes and find an object that symbolizes your learning that you want to carry forward into 2021 and beyond.  Go back to your writing and note what the object is, what is symbolizes for you and, if you can’t have it with you to remind you of it, take a photo of it with you phone so that you can refer back to it when you want to recall the learning you wish to continue to put into practice.

You could even do a modified exercise like this with your team for team reflective learning.

While the above exercise is something you can do on your own, the real power of reflection comes when you have someone you can reflect with.  A loved one, friend or work-colleague can be a good reflection partner but they will tend to be less impartial. If you don’t already have a coach or mentor in place and would like to develop your leadership skills further, and work objectively on your goals and dreams, I invite you to schedule an exploration call to see if working with Spark Success is an option for you. 

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Yours in iterative learning,

Jamie

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