How to Make Reflective Leadership Work for You
Every executive is different. Yet, there is one characteristic all experts agree is critical to the success of any executive: being a “great leader."
This then begs the question: if we’re all different, how do we define a great leader? A refrain that I have heard from a number of leadership experts: “There are all sorts of different qualities that a leader can have so there is no model that applies in all cases. As long as people are willing to follow them they are a good leader.” So, what does it take to be “great,” not just “good?”
What it is: Naturally reflective leaders are more reserved, introverted, and insightful individuals. They gravitate toward situations and positions where they are required to employ intense problem solving skills, imagination, and creativity.
Why it’s a desired skill: Because of their inherent nature, these professionals are able to easily tap into experience in order to solve problems. This is a highly desirable attribute for all leaders for the simple fact that, without reflection, it’s all too easy to miss things, interpret them incorrectly (decision bias errors), and simply to become overworked from lack of time for introspection.
Consider the words of President Obama, caught on an open mike during a conversation with Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain in 2008: “The most important thing you need to do [in this job] is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you’re doing is thinking.”
How to get it: Not a naturally reflective individual? It’s a skill that can be developed with a bit of effort, enhanced by the use of Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle. Developed by Professor Graham Gibbs to help guide students in coursework, it is an effective method for walking executives through the stages of reflection.
No Better Time
It’s the end of the year and the start of a new; there’s no better time for resolutions. And, there’s no better way to approach them than doing so reflectively. While the journey to get there may take you out of your comfort zone, the destination may prove to be the greatest reward.