With a busy workload and fast-changing environment, looking back before moving forward may seem counter-productive. However, the ability to analyse and learn from past experiences is vital to personal and professional development. Whatever your role or seniority, meaningful growth can be hard to achieve without reflection.
At the core of reflective skills lies self-awareness. This involves understanding your strengths, weaknesses, values, and emotions. Employees who possess a heightened sense of self-awareness are more likely to recognise areas for improvement and seek opportunities to enhance their skills. This also enables them to set realistic goals and make decisions that are better aligned with their individual strengths and aspirations.
Reflection does not have to look at specific situations but considering experiences that went well/or not so well, can help us all to gain better self-awareness. Whether a positive or negative outcome, reflecting can help to identify patterns and uncover valuable insights that we can use to learn from our mistakes and improve future endeavours.
Of course, no one enjoys looking back at something that was unsuccessful. However, if you don’t, you risk repeatedly encountering the same problems which can be damaging to your productivity and self-esteem. By figuring out what lead to a negative outcome you may be able to identify your weakness which you can improve or learn to mitigate for. Equally, reflecting on your successes can help highlight your strengths and allow you to communicate what you can bring to a project, resulting in your skills being more effectively applied. The ability to confidently identify how you directly contributed to a positive result and how you have or can improve on weaknesses is also essential for career progression.
Self-reflection can also help us to better communicate with others and work as a team. In collaborative settings, disagreements are bound to arise due to varying opinions, perspectives, and working styles. Reflective skills facilitate effective conflict resolution by enabling us to better understand our reactions to conflict and identify potential triggers. This allows us to take a step back, consider things from an alternate perspective and respond more constructively.
Good reflective skills are also integral to effective leadership, as they enable managers to evaluate their performance, take ownership of their actions, and learn from their mistakes. By embracing reflective practices, managers can inspire their teams to do the same and create an environment where employees feel encouraged to learn and grow.
Reflective skills can also be key when completing CPD activites. Read more about the benefits of directly reflecting on your learning here - Reflective Statements – Why They Matter (rwabusiness.com)
This month, the Development Zone is showcasing its range of courses related to topics we have touched on in this article, including:
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