The Reflective Manager

And I’m not talking about a person in reflective clothing with a light being shone on them. Although, that’s not a bad image for what I’m thinking about.

Being a reflective practitioner, of anything worth doing, is one of the best ways to learn, be consistent or adjust when needed.

I’m sure that when people hear someone say something like, “next step is to reflect on “that” and see what comes up for you”, you at least get an eye roll or two. Worse, people tune out a bit.

If that was me getting the eye roll, I might take a moment to reflect on that eye roll to see if the issue was me. I would probably wonder if I delivered the message in a way that it had a chance to sink in. I want to avoid having my messages be just more noise. So, the next time I talk to that person, having reflected on my previous outcome a bit, I could act in a different way or deliver my message in a different way to have it land in the way I wanted it to!

In fact as part of the self learning cycle that you can manage for yourself, reflecting on past performance is a great way to pinpoint, for yourself, changes that are possible and improvements that can be made.

There are three simple questions for you to ask yourself:

  • What in that scenario went well

  • What opportunities did I miss to express myself

  • What could I do differently next time

Now if you integrate those questions with a goal you are trying to achieve, you will move yourself toward that goal each time you ask that set of questions.

Now, couple that with feedback from someone you trust, someone invested in seeing you achieve your goal (a coach for instance). Now you have a three pronged approach to making a shift, eventually.

I put eventually in there because there will be times when the answers to those three questions are weighted toward the last two. In that case, there is probably more learning available to you than you might expect.

The advanced reflective manager might add, “what impact did that scenario have on the people around me”. I’ll discuss impact another time.

For now, give yourself the chance to learn, through regular reflection. It’s a super power we humans have - it’s our ability to think about learning and then learn how to learn in a way that’s best for us.