Reflective Thinking

#LeadTip: Self-reflection is an important development tool. Reflection is the ability to think back, observe yourself in action, and learn from it. It allows you to hit the pause button and ensure that you are still on track and not pushing forward in a direction you shouldn’t be going. 

What you reflect on always determines what you will learn. There is no doubt that leaders should believe in the future more and move forward when things go wrong. It is also important for leaders to spend a short amount of time reflecting on past errors in a productive manner. I call it reflective thinking, and it’s a discipline I practice regularly. Reflective thinking helps me understand what worked well and what didn’t. Mining the best takeaways from both successes and failures will help you to get better every day. 

A ‘5R’ approach can be helpful for those who want to practice reflective thinking.

  1. Review – Knowing what you messed up yesterday will help you plan a better tomorrow.
  2. Reflect – Think deeply to prevent your tomorrow from falling into the same traps as your yesterday. 
  3. Recover – Letting yourself feel bad for a short time will motivate you to fix what can be fixed and move forward.
  4. Rearrange – Realign your priorities in line with your learnings as needed.
  5. Recharge – Dwelling on the past with an eye toward the future allows you to bounce back with double the vigor.
















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