Leadership development and the Art of Getting Better

December 19, 2018 by Wally Bock

Leadership development is learning from experience. The core of learning from experience is self-reflection. Chris Cebollero wrote the following in his Fortune article, “It’s the season for self-reflection.”

“In my experience, effective leadership has to begin with self-awareness and, more importantly, self-reflection. Life is a long series of experiences, decisions, successes and lessons learned. One of the keys to ultimate success is the ability to make sense of, appreciate and grow from those experiences. As you get ready to hustle in 2019, take time to reflect and determine what worked for you, where you had challenges or made mistakes and where you experienced failures over the past year.”

Chris is right that the end of the year is a great time to reflect on the year past and look forward to the year to come. Psychologists call milestones like New Year’s “temporal landmarks.” Besides New Year’s, other holidays and personal landmarks like birthdays seem to be times when we’re most likely to reflect. But if we only reflect then, we’re not making the kind of constant progress most of us want to make.

Leadership Development and Reflection

Aspiring leaders will learn their trade faster if they develop the habits of reflection. If you’re responsible for leadership development in your company, then your challenge is to help them develop those habits.

Help aspiring leaders develop the habit of reflection. Help them learn to capture the essence of important events as they happen. Show how they can use a journal to connect what happens to them to the lessons they can learn from it.

Leadership Development Coaching and Reflection

When I was coming up as a leader, everyone thought coaching was evidence you didn’t have the right stuff. When I got coaching to help me perform better, it was a covert operation. Today, it’s different and better.

Today, coaching is a part of many leadership development programs, even for mid and lower-level leaders. A coach can help an aspiring leader reflect better and learn more from experience. Every leader has blind spots and things they don’t believe can change. A coach can help shine a light on the blind spots and push aspiring leaders to get the most they can from their experience.

Bottom Line

Reflection is how aspiring leaders learn from their experience. Teach them how to develop the habit of reflection and provide coaching to make reflection even more effective.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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