How much do you value self-reflection?
In my various roles as executive coach, facilitator and researcher I often find myself talking with clients about the extent to which they actively engage in self-reflection. As one would expect, some clients have experienced the benefit of scheduled reflection time and this practice is embedded into their weeks. However this regular commitment would have to be the exception rather than the rule. Interestingly in times of high stress, self-reflection is often the first thing that gets deleted from their routines, yet it is the very thing they need.
By encouraging my clients to engage in self-reflection on a regular basis, I am hoping they will strengthen their metacognitive skills.
Metacognition refers to an individual’s self-insight into their own thinking. It includes their understanding of what information they are selecting in their decision making and why. Fundamentally metacognition relates to an individual’s awareness of their memories, their strengths and their weaknesses, aspects that are particularly relevant in a leader domain.
Researchers Machida and Schaubroeck (2011) highlight that self-reflection is a metacognitive strategy that assists individuals in identifying their self beliefs when it comes to leading. The practice of self-reflection of one’s own beliefs is particularly relevant as these can beliefs underpin or undermine their confidence in the tasks of leadership. By engaging actively in self-reflection the research shows individuals can optimise their leader performance. So it seems that such a straightforward practice can lead to potentially transformational effects - particularly given that we all know wisdom comes from within.