One of the keys to being a leader is the ability to do honest reflections of your own work. You will never position yourself as a leader until you have an insatiable need to live to high and higher standards that you set for yourself. If your only evaluation of your work comes from others, then you will only be living up to standards set by others.
Here’s how to do an honest reflection of your own work.
- After you have a critical moment in your work, write a stream of consciousness reflection of your performance. Stream of consciousness refers to a written record of everything that comes to your mind as you think about your performance. The idea is to capture what you are thinking. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. Just capture your thoughts.
- Put aside the reflection for a day. Then reread it.
- Once you have reread the reflection, make a list of specific things you want to do to improve. The keys to the list are as follows:
- The improvements need to be written down
- The improvements should be very specific
- The improvements should be actionable – that is there should be a specific thing that you will do to make the improvement.
- Once you have all of the improvements written down, identify the one that will make the biggest impact. This is the one you want to focus on. Put the others in a “parking lot” for future work. Set a date to reflect on your improvement.
- Maintain this same process throughout your career.
When you talk to someone in a leadership position, you will be amazed at how much thought they give to things they did to improve. This has to be a self-driven process.