I attended another energized Junto Regina Leadership Development session today where I was blessed to be in the company of so many inspiring colleagues. As I was driving home I reflected on the energy that was evident in the room and I wanted to share some of my thoughts from that reflection. For me, reflection has become part of my life. I reflect about what is about to happen and what has happened. It is not normally situational or event driven but can be as it has become something that I have disciplined myself to do. I create the environment where I am safe and open to give and receive feedback as part of my reflective process. I am enriched on a personal and professional basis each and every time that I reflect.
As a great leader it is important that we reflect personally and professionally. As a mentor it is important that we reflect personally and professionally. All of this sounds good but what does reflection mean:
“Reflection is a mental process which, applied to the act of learning, challenges students to use critical thinking to examine presented information, question its validity, and draw conclusions based on the resulting ideas.”
When we think of times where we have been reflecting we are looking at things in the present state and we are looking at things in the future state. How we reflect on the future state will be driven by our learning from the past and current state.
Reflective leadership can be defined as:
“Reflective leadership is a way of approaching the work of being a leader by leading one’s life with presence and personal mastery. Learning to be present, to be aware and attentive to our experience with people throughout the day is the focus of reflective leadership.”
Reflection in the mentoring process follows the same path. As part of the mentoring process it is essential that we reflect prior to and after spending time with someone in a mentoring relationship. We will be looking at the past state first and reflecting on what went well, what didn’t go well, and what can we do to improve things so that both of us get value from our time together. Reflection into the future state will prepare us for the time that we are about to spend with another person. It will help guide us on our mentoring journey. Failure to reflect future state is like going on a trip without a sense of direction.
Reflection is a transferable skill. It is one that we can use daily and frequently throughout the day. It requires discipline and commitment to take the time – time for yourself to properly reflect on past and future state. Reflection can be used in your personal and professional life and will leave you that much more enriched as a person.
Whether you are a leader in an organization, in the community or in the family the power of reflection will serve you well as you serve others.