You have just got in the door from work. Ahhhhh! Finally, some quiet. Some stillness. It is wonderful to say the least. You kick off your shoes and leave the rest of your work clothes scattered throughout the house. The quiet seems pleasantly uncommon and, in this silent place, you sit down in your favorite spot and naturally start to recount your day.
Some thoughts make you smile, others make you laugh and still others make you worry…. This is reflection.
Reflection is defined as the reverting of the mind to that which has already occupied it; also, that operation or power of the mind by which it is conscious of its own acts or states; the capacity for judging rationally, especially in view of a moral rule or standard.
Confucius said, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
Put simply, reflection is to think upon what you have done or what was done. It is a lost art and one of the most important to have among your good leadership skills. Reflection shows that you value your actions and the message they are speaking. Reflection is the art of a responsible leader.
You have just made a decision at work. When you return to your office, you close your door and take some time to reflect. Upon reflection, you realize you made an error and it needs immediate correction. Promptly, you make the necessary adjustments.
It is simple and, in this case, reflection saved the day. Without reflection, your decision would have started to “take root and grow fruit”. Meaning, you would have started to see and reap the consequences of your poor choice.
For some reason, reflection does not always come naturally. Reflection, too often, is a result of trouble or turbulence.
Remember when you were a kid? When you got in trouble, do you recall your parents saying “Go to your room and think about what you’ve done for a little while!”
Your parents were strongly recommending some reflection.
At the end of each day, take a few moments to reflect on these things:
- The words you spoke
- The actions you carried out
- What you accomplished vs. what you wanted to accomplish
Reflection is the best way to validate your words and actions. If you are a leader, do not underestimate the power of constant reflection when you assess the good leadership skills at your disposal. Responsible leaders are reflectors.