Every once in awhile I think about carrying around a mirror. It could be like a super power to change people for the better. When a parent is swearing at the referee at their kids’ soccer game, show them what they look like in the mirror.
When the best man at the wedding is making an insulting toast about how love won’t last, BAM! Mirror
When someone on the train gives up a seat to a mom and her kids, look how good you look. Mirror!
What I really want is for those people to look in the mirror and reflect, but sadly, I think carrying around a mirror in my pocket would only open the flood gates for jokes about people seeing themselves in my pants. So I will not take a reflection mirror with me, however, in an era where charisma can often be mistaken for responsible leadership, I truly believe reflection is the difference between a poor leader and a great one.
3 Tips to Help Leaders Reflect
We all have a vision of who we want to be as a leader, but it takes time and attention to solidify this vision. Try this:
Make a list of the traits/characteristics/values/behaviors etc… of the best leader(s) you’ve ever had.
Make a list of the traits/characteristics/values/behaviors etc… of the worst leader(s) you’ve ever had.
Circle the elements you feel are essential for great leadership and then circle the elements you feel are essential to avoid.
Post these around. Let people know you care about these leadership characteristics, and how you want to avoid these others. Most of all, keep things these things in mind and take action to become better.
Even the best leaders can get angry, upset, or irrational, but creating the time to reflect and refocus can help leaders respond with a good reflective decision based on understanding instead of simply reacting with a poor decision based on emotion.
Ask yourself if this decision needs to be made right now. If so, take the time to hear all sides, and understand the different points of view, then clarify points of view before making a decision.
If the decision does not need to be made right now, find a space to think all aspects through. Do a little research if necessary. The separation can help provide clarity.
Also remember, thinking can provide clarity, but too much thinking leads to worry. Think it through, understand all sides, and take action.
Leaders can get easily wrapped up into the small things, losing sight of what is truly important.
For each issue, problem, or difficulty, think through the worst case scenario and the best case scenario.
Know the outcome will most likely be somewhere in between. After quickly thinking through the possible outcomes, decide whether you need to engage or if someone else can handle it.