Somewhere deep inside us there is this urge to do things differently, stand out and be counted. What fails us is our limited capacity to utilize our experience in dealing with the situations around us and that too when it counts the most. Experts have been telling us we need to train ourselves to get the best out of our experience if we really want to make a difference to ourselves and others.
Not that we ignore our own development, we all are well aware of the knowledge and the skills we need to become good in our chosen profession. Most of us we do put in the efforts in becoming proficient in those professional skills and do become successful but that urge to do things differently never ceases. We count on our experience and never fail to talk about it and profile it in the best possible manner filling up a few pages in the bargain.
However, when you take time out to analyze your own performance critically, you feel you could have done better. You vouch for to do better the next time. And the question naturally crops up, how? What should I be doing to improve my capacity to perform even better? Handle situations even better? Is there something more I can do to learn from my experience and utilize my experience to the best of my capability?
If such a scenario happens to bother you, beware, one of the skills that you have not really paid attention to is the skill & the competency to “Reflect” on your own experience. People mostly look at “Reflection” as just a thinking skill but it is much more than that, it is a much deeper way of analyzing and learning from your experience. It is a skill which needs to be practiced. It is a competency which needs to be developed as you grow and rise in your organization.
Critically reflecting on your day to day experience can significantly improve your capacity to handle situations better. Whether it is at a personal level or at a team level, as a leader you will find, the competency to “Reflect” well, pays rich dividends professionally.
“Reflection” as a skill needs to be learned “Experientially”. Experiential learning is a slow process but a sure one. When you reflect and reflect well you are able to gain knowledge, you are able to connect with people and the situation on hand. And when you are able to create a reflective atmosphere, people around you will not limit themselves to logical thinking only, but also will be willing to think deeply and find answers to many unanswered questions in the bargain.
As a leader if you support and encourage reflective thinking in your teams you are encouraging creativity and innovative ways of finding solutions. Most importantly people are willing to open up, express their thoughts and opinions. There is nothing like right or wrong, people want to share and consider. Such atmosphere develops trust and understanding. Such engagements are time consuming opine some people, but when rewarded with unexpected results people do learn to appreciate the outcomes. People are able to find how they are able to link their theoretical knowledge with what they are experiencing at the practical level.
Outward Bound programs for professionals offer a significant insight into this skill to take participants to a different level of its understanding for them to become competent at it. The participants get an opportunity to reflect at the personal level as well as the group level. The collective experience of the participants makes this reflective process an unforgettable experience. Step out of your comfort zone to get the Outward Bound experience; you will come back richer in this competency.