Leadership has a built in dichotomy: In order to lead well one must reflect well. It is a dichotomy because when we think of leadership we think of action. Yet wise action comes out of a great deal of quiet reflection. To lead well, one must learn the discipline of reflecting well.

Reflection takes time - time away from activity in order to think, pray and plan. I am currently spending five weeks in Berlin doing just that, along with the opportunity to see what a coalition of the willing is doing to see 100 transformational fellowships arise in this city. My time here may well be the most important activity of my year because it gives me time to reflect. 

In many organizations I work with or relate to, time away to think is not seen as a high value because it is time "away from work." I disagree! It is the most important work we do because it allows us to lead from wisdom that comes from reflection. In activity, less is more if it is highly focused on the right things. Getting to the right things requires time to reflect carefully.

The term reflective practitioners puts this into context. Leaders are practitioners - they do things and lead people. But that leadership is best when it comes out of deep and careful reflection. Reflection is the work behind the work of leading. 

Remember two things. First, three key decisions in a year is far more powerful than 20 non key decisions. Getting to the game changing decisions requires significant time to think.

Second, the decisions of leaders impacts others so ensuring that those decisions are well thought out is critical. Non reflective leadership hurts people inadvertently. 

If you lead you are a practitioner. The question is whether you value the discipline of reflection. Reflective practitioners are better practitioners than non reflective practitioners. Which are you?
  • Jun 29, 2012
  • Category: News
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