Research has documented that outstanding leaders take time to reflect. Their success depends on the ability to access their unique perspective and bring it to their decisions and sense-making every day.
Extraordinary leadership is rooted in several capabilities: seeing before others see, understanding before others understand, and acting before others act. A leader’s unique perspective is an important source of creativity and competitive advantage. But the reality is that most of us live such fast-paced, frenzied lives that we fail to leave time to actually listen to ourselves.
Gaining access to your own insight isn’t difficult; you simply need to commit to reflecting on a daily basis. Based on research (my own and others’) and many years of work with global business leaders as a consultant and international management professor, I recommend the simple act of regularly writing in a journal:
- Buy a journal. Writing online doesn’t provide the same benefits as writing by hand. So buy a real journal. I’ve created Leadership Insight, a journal that includes blank pages, paintings, and provocative questions designed specifically for leaders — but any journal will do.
- Commit to reflecting for 15 minutes a day. This is by far the most difficult step. So if 15 minutes initially seems impossible, start with three minutes. But start somewhere.
- Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
- Choose the right time, preferably the same time each day when you won’t be disturbed. Pick a time that works for you, but keep those 15 minutes carefully guarded in your agenda as an appointment with yourself.
- Write whatever comes to mind. A journal’s blank pages invite you to hold an honest conversation with yourself every day. In the journal, you can say anything. So give yourself permission to follow your stream of consciousness without judging, censoring, or trying to direct where your thoughts might take you. In my best reflection sessions, I feel like I am peering over my hand, just waiting to discover what I’ll write next. And don’t worry about grammar; however you express yourself is fine.
Read full article at Want to Be an Outstanding Leader? Keep a Journal