There’s Treasure Buried in this Leadership Habit

Rich rewards can be reaped by incorporating reflection into your leadership routine.  Any resistors out there?  Full disclosure demands that I state that I am a reformed, recovering Instant Decision-Maker Just-Do- It You-Can-Have-it-All Diligent Worker.  I grew up in a home with 2nd generation immigrants just off the homestead with the belief that if you worked harder you would be better off in Oh So Many Ways. No one sat to consider outcomes or options or to review, because we believed,  if you did sit then certainly the farm and your family would suffer.  As a single working mom I incorporated immediate streamlining of all tasks and processes with costs/benefit analysis as effective brain training for hospital administration, but also useful for rapid fire decision support regarding PBJ sandwiches QD versus a housecleaner twice a month. (Housekeeper acquired.)  Brisk efficiency and instant analysis (minus even momentary reflection) won.

Doing the tasks took over;  the chaos of immediate needs and adaptive changes were overwhelming.  But I was lacking the leadership moments necessary to ask critical thinking questions such as:

  • Are we achieving the results we would like? If not, why not?
  • What outcomes can we celebrate?
  • What’s working and what’s not working?
  • What could we do differently if we were to deal with a similar issue again?
  • What recommendations should be incorporate into our future work together?

Healthcare personnel (interdisciplinary teams) in departments I led were pausing for several minutes toward the end of a work session, to evaluate care outcomes, celebrate, and determine what they would recommend the team would do differently if they were to have a similar assignment.  I noted improvement in teamwork and critical thinking development, but I had not integrated reflective practice with regularity into my own leadership life. My business coach encouraged me to stop, sit, and reflect just for 2 minutes to start. Even one minute was too hard for me; I found myself manufacturing “to do” lists in my brain rather than evaluating outcomes and processes, thinking about course corrections, deciding on next steps.  I discovered I was repeating similar gaps and missteps because of a constant task work=value ethic.

How can you carve out the time for answering the crucial leadership questions about what you can celebrate and what you want to change? The benefits are numerous:

  • Consider course corrections before it’s too late to change the momentum
  • Avoid repetition of mistakes.
  • Streamline next steps due to clarity of intended outcomes and plan going forward.
  • Take deep breaths and/or put your feet up. (Health benefits!)
  • Celebrate the impact of what you do=immediate mood lift.
  • Reflection is essential for critical thinking development.

In the Master Coach Manual, we provide tools to help you stop and reflect on the onsite processes that improve clinical outcomes.   www.Hansten.com;

We recommend refection as an integral practice for coaches and coachees alike.  Contact us at for information about being coached or creating a coaching culture., or visit

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