The Bests Ways To Practice Self-Reflection

For such a useful practice, the self-reflection process is not something we know how to do intuitively. It’s not something we learn about in school and it isn’t part of most job training. Our work environments tend to focus on what to do next or how to do more. We’re shaped by “always moving forward” work cultures and we believe there’s no time to pause and reflect. Most of us don’t learn about the power of self-reflection until someone else, often a coach or mentor, guides us through the process.

Self-reflection enables leaders to identify their strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement. But how do you begin a self-reflection practice if it’s not something that you typically take the time to do? Here are a few suggestions: 

Reflect regularly

Schedule 10 to 20 minutes a week for self-reflection. This should be blocked out in your calendar, so it’s a set time for you to quietly think and self-reflection becomes a regular habit. A quiet and calm place without distractions is ideal. For some, leaving the office environment helps clear the mind. Others may choose to arrive at the office 30 minutes earlier when it’s quiet, to reflect on the day or week ahead.

Develop a structure for reflection

Self-reflection can be overwhelming to begin with and particularly without a set focus. You may want to start with a single question or topic, such as the following areas:

  • Week in review: What went well? What did you learn? What could you do differently?
  • Highlights: What did you do well as a leader this day and/or week?
  • Leadership: What type of leader do you want to be? Which leaders do you look up to? How does your team view you as a leader?
  • Values: What are your core values? Do they align with your organization’s values?
  • Team: What type of leader does your team need? Are there ways you could better meet their needs?
  • Goals: What are the current goals of your organization? What needs to be done and are you on track? What do you need to do as a leader to meet these goals?

Write down your thoughts

Writing down thoughts and ideas down during self-reflection frees up space in your mind and gives you the opportunity to organize your thoughts. Plus, having a record of your self-reflective thoughts means that you can check back regularly and see your progress.

Encourage your team members to practice self-reflection

While self-reflection is important for leaders, your team can also find a lot of value in it. Encourage your team to regularly reflect on their own performance, as well as yours and make them feel comfortable sharing their insights with you.

Self-reflection is a humbling, but powerful technique that helps leaders (and team members) improve their performance. But it can be a tough process that makes you take an honest look at yourself: your strengths, your weaknesses, areas for improvement and how you should work to grow and develop. Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to help you make self-reflection an important component of your leadership process. We can help you set goals and provide support and accountability. Contact us at 301-670-0051 or email us at to learn more.