Leadership Series - Part 2
How Do I Raise My Lid?
This is the second in a series of posts that tackle the most misunderstood and under utilized skill in business environments. Leadership is influence and the difference between being good and great.
There are several things you can do to help raise your Lid. And, one of the best things you can do is to value your experience with Reflection. Reflection is probably the most underutilized tool in our society today because it requires thinking.
Thinking through your experience is critically important to refining your approaches and getting better. It's the equivalent to purposeful practice, in that your brain doesn’t know the difference between an experience in reality or an experience in thought.
A 2010 survey of 1700 white collar workers revealed that on average employees spend more than half their workdays receiving and managing information rather than using it to do their jobs, suggesting that we spend less time actually thinking and more time just rearranging information in our minds.
HOW DO I REFLECT?
In the past I would take time to reflect every month. At the end of each month, I would reflect on what went well, what didn’t go so well, what I could do better, what I wanted to do, what I was able to accomplish, and everything that I wanted to accomplish.
I asked myself lots of questions. Hard and sometimes uncomfortable questions.
Through reflection, I realized that I was just pushing things from one month to the next. I was getting caught up in the day-to-day activities, or spending too much time on one particular project when I may have only allocated a certain amount of time to get it done that month. I was spending too much time on it, and that means that other things I planned to do for the month were pushed.
It doesn’t add value to the experience if you keep pushing things from month to month. Through reflection, I was able to spot this trend, and I realized that I have to do something different. So, I started reflecting on a day-to-day basis.
The power of reflection lies in really looking in your past to create your future.
When we reflect, we ask questions about what happened in the past, or in particular, we ask questions about what we did yesterday, how was yesterday, and could I have done yesterday better. The insight within the answers to those questions is your preparation for tomorrow.
So, there’s something that you didn’t do so well - you make a note of that. And, maybe, you’ll have another similar situation coming up in a week or two. You’ll be prepared for that. You might realize that you were able to get everything that you wanted to get done yesterday, but you were up all night. You have to find a better way to be more efficient, or spend less time on those tasks.
By looking at yesterday, you can prepare for tomorrow. That is where the power of reflection adds value to your experiences.
One crucial note here - do not discount the little things that you do on a daily basis. Don’t just overlook them. You want to really focus on them. If they’re not adding value to your day, if they’re not within the dream or goals that you want to accomplish, then you’ve really got to ask, “Is it worth it?”
You might say, “I have these goals”, “I want to reflect every day, but I’m finding that I can’t”, or “I just have so many things, that pop up, that I'm not able to get what I want done”.
This where your Leadership Ability has to kick in. You have to decide what is most important.
This is where you improve as a leader because you can discern what’s important and what’s not important – what’s a priority for now and what is a priority for later.
You may be saying, “Well, everything’s important.”
That’s not leadership. Leaders know what’s important and what’s not. Everything cannot be important.
A good tool to help categorize what is urgent and what is important is a Priority Matrix.
How to Practice Reflection?
Set aside a time for purposeful reflection. You don’t have to do it every day, but it would be best if you did it regularly. Put it in your calendar - 15 minutes on Friday to reflect on the week that has gone by. Close the door to your office or find a quiet place where you can sit and reflect.
Do you need a pen and paper? Make sure they are within reach. In fact, it’s great if you can keep a journal so you can see trends and keep track of your discoveries.
If you’re wondering what to ask yourself, here are some basic questions to get you started:
What went well?
What went wrong?
What didn’t go as well as I thought?
What felt “off” to me?
What felt right to me?
What did I not like?
What did I love?
This bears repeating, so I’ll say it again - do not censor yourself or your thoughts. Sometimes, the answer is right in front of us but we choose not to see it because we think it’s rude or wrong. No one is judging you. This time for reflection is not for others; it is for you.
Try reflecting for a couple of weeks, and let me know how it worked out for you.
Let’s Raise the Lid
If you’re interested in raising your leadership lid by developing the discipline in using tools like a priority matrix and becoming the best leader that you can be, then click here for a quick and friendly chat on your situation. No strings attached. No purchase necessary. Just drop me a note. I am more than happy to listen and possibly share my thoughts and insights with you.
Have an extraordinary day! And, remember - Excellence is a Habit.
FREE Leadership Training Session
If you work with a team and you’d like to find out more about how Leadership Training can help you, then you should sign up for our free 45-minute Leadership Training Session. Bring your lunch and your questions, and I’ll bring my knowledge and a presentation on leadership principles that can help you and your team raise your Lid. Check out the video below for more information:
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