Here's why we need reflection...
1- We are operating in increasingly complex times,
2- We are managing in an environment where ‘change’ is the buzzword
3- We are managing incredibly diverse teams of people
4- Over the past few years there have been monumental increases in technology, especially portable technology, which is amazing and has revolutionised our ways of living and working BUT on the flipside it means that we often don't stop interacting with it (I can’t imagine how I coped before the IPAD came along). Our phones are now mini-computers and cameras, we have tablets that fit in our bags, as well as desktops or laptops: we email, tweet, pin and update Facebook etc.. on the go, in every spare moment...so the question is when do you find time to reflect? to really think about events, people and situations?
Our frenetic lifestyles mean that we are interacting, engaging and responding to various people in various situations faster than ever before, so much so that many of us find ourselves unable to keep track of what we've said or done on a given day, we can often find ourselves struggling to recall people’s reactions and responses. How can any of us, especially those with any kind of leadership role hope to be responsive, proactive and authentic if we don't make the time to reflect? In it's simplest form, reflection is thinking for an extended period, allowing us to link recent experiences to earlier ones, ultimately allowing deeper understanding: and surprise surprise, reflection is also considered to be a vital component of Emotional Intelligence.
Critical reflection goes a step further Boyd & Fales (1983) describe reflection as the process of internally examining and exploring an issue, triggered by an experience, which creates and clarifies meaning in terms of self. This form of reflection when done effectively forces us to question our assumptions, mental models, governing variables and motivations.
Reflection can help us to...
• Gain a more in depth & honest picture of ourselves
• Become more aware of our hidden motivations, our thinking styles & of how we appear to other people.
• Develop a better understanding of what affects our performance & progress.
• Develop our insight & judgement
• Gain more control over our thoughts, emotions, responses and behaviour, so that we are in a better position to achieve our goals.
• Identify areas of conflict and to develop coping strategies
Start making time to think ...to reflect on your recent interactions and your decision making. Critical reflection helps to refocus your thinking and could help you (through the insights gained) to manage your behaviour in future.
“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.”