Progression in the British Army can be marked by a number of things including an increase in rank, responsibility and respect. It is also marked by a decrease in the number and volume of people shouting at you and telling you what to do.
Indeed, due to the hierarchical nature of the organisation, you get to appoint where and when self-regulation and self-reflection become an intrinsic part of leadership by example.
By the front door of every Warrant Officer & Sergeant’s Mess was a full body size mirror enabling leaders to check their turnout before venturing outside. The concept of having a personal internal mirror was also metaphorically used in leadership training and ongoing development – always correcting yourself before correcting others, enabling you to lead by example.
Benefits of Self Reflection
When it comes to self-reflection, the famous Michael Jackson lyrics always spring to mind: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.”
My experience in business and the military has taught me that this behaviour of self-regulation is not easily forgotten. I have seen it work very well for organisations and individuals time and time again. However, I have also seen it work against leaders whose intense self-criticism became a hindrance to themselves and those around them.
So, how do you self-reflect successfully? By reminding yourself of why it’s so important, of course. Here are just a few benefits of taking the time to look at yourself, what you’ve done, and how you’ve done it:
Learn what makes you happy
Self-reflection is much more than just giving yourself a stern talking to. It can also be about discovering and finding what brings you joy, outside and within your business. Only through stopping to take a moment, look back and reflect can we truly appreciate the successes and joys of being a part of something bigger.
Look through what you’ve done in the last week, month or year and determine what brought you the most happiness. Are there opportunities to do or achieve similar things in the coming days, weeks or months?
Discover what you’re good at
It can be very easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day tasks and to-do lists that come with running a business, but this is not healthy for yourself, your team, or your company. Instead, aim to take some time for yourself to learn what you and each of your team are good at, and then use it to your advantage.
By looking back at successful work and achievements, you can discover what is working well for your business and double-down on it.
Reveal what needs improving
One of the key aspects of self-reflection is identifying weaknesses and turning them into strengths. Try looking at it from a different perspective; try seeing any potential areas of improvement as an opportunity to improve and broaden your skillset.
Improve leadership skills
A strong leader understands the emotions of themselves and their team. Through looking at your own actions and feelings through a different lens, you gain a stronger emotional intelligence and appreciation of what is happening around you.
This way, you can learn the various leadership methods and strategies that work in terms of motivating yourself and your colleagues.
Build stronger relationships
Ever looked back and cringed at something you’ve done or said, or even how you said it? Instead of wallowing in regret, think about how you could have done things differently. Could you have offered more help? Could you have taken more time to consider your actions? Maybe you could have offered stronger guidance…
These solutions and opportunities to build stronger relationships with clients, customers and employees only present themselves when you make time for self reflection.
Form exciting new strategies
After reflecting on what is working well and not so well, you can develop a strategy for growing your business, broadening your skills and strengthening your mindset.
Taking a break away from your business and the day-to-day responsibilities that come with running it will only serve to further your understanding of how others see your actions, products, services, assets and so on.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
“Rob’s been great with my team, delivering exactly the training we required while being a fantastic sounding board for me when I’ve been in need of counsel. Rob’s constructive criticism and ability to see the real challenge being presented is something more people should benefit from.”
The above quote is from someone I have been working with recently, helping the business with change management and development.
Self-reflection is absolutely essential for both personal and business development. And sometimes, it can actually result in you realising you still need that external guidance and perspective from someone else.
If you do one thing after reading this blog post, let it be this… Ask yourself, what behaviours do you feel hinder you? And how can you turn these gaps and areas of improvement into strengths and opportunities?
Need a nudge in the right direction or help with self-reflection and business development? Why not call for a free no-obligation chat? You may just learn something…