Reflect and Grow

#8 easy ways to reflect and grow

‘So What?’

How often do you reflect on the impact of your actions?

I am Tracy-Anne Barker, a mentor, coach and trainer.  I use the ubiquitous ‘So What?’ phrase when working with individuals. It can be used to mean, indifference as in. “I don’t care” I use the ‘So What?’ phrase to coax people to think deeper and  further, encouraging answers which may identify the impact of the action  or decision taken.

If you are a business owner, manager or leader reflection is vital to your personal development, it supports your opportunity to progress and improve your impact and outputs. Reflective practice, arguably allows a person to recognise strengths and weaknesses and develop.

How I answered my ‘So What’ question 

Recently, I was regaling in my usual excitable way, why I love working with individuals and teams, how I help them and why it helps me with my PURPOSE and sense of reason to be running my business.

My fellow business owner, let’s call him ‘Young Man’ said “So what, isn’t that what everyone says?”

With milliseconds to think I reflected on a conversation I had ten days previously explaining to him what it is that makes me different from other mentors and coaches.

Young man replied ‘that is quite impressive’.

‘So What’? I can hear you say!

Can you answer your ‘So What’ question?

If you already know your reasons for getting out of bed and going to work, if you already have the answer, congratulations!

However, many of us are unable to identify ours.

For most, the first reason is money, to pay the bills, mortgage, rent, food etc. The first rung on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Beyond that, most of us have other reasons and purpose for going to our place of work, regardless of where that is or which industry it is.

Mine, is knowing that I make a positive difference to those I work with, the last 30 years I have successfully demonstrated this and continue to do so in my own business. I get a real buzz and sense of happiness when a client progresses and moves themselves forward, it is truly what gets me up each morning. What gets you up in the morning?

 What can you do to understand your purpose and the impact you have as a manager?

Here are #8 easy ways to help you reflect on your strengths and areas for development to help you in your management role.  

1. Take time. Build reflective time in to your day, work out what suits you, making it a regular habit something that you do on a frequent basis, don’t leave it and try and cram it in.

2. Write it down. Have a note book, either physical or electronic when you are taking regular time to reflect, write your thoughts down, what went well, what could develop, which things could you do better. Note your successes to revisit and reflect on in the future.  

3. Give it attention. Your reflection time is important, turn off your phone, close your emails, minimise any distractions. Focus on the reflective practice, give it your attention.  

4. Pace. If you are someone that finds slowing down and taking time out for yourself and your personal development difficult, consider Mindfulness or Meditation. Your own development is just as important as the development of your team. Make space to slow down, give yourself the time and space to reflect so that you can grow and improve.

5. No judgement. Approach your reflection without self-criticism or judgement. Don’t ‘beat yourself up’ about the things that did not go well. Celebrate what did go well and reflect on what could be different next time.  

6. Experiment with different tools. The CIPD have a range of suggested tools to help with reflective practice including free writing, free drawing and have a great question bank to help you with your reflective practice.

7. Identify a champion, mentor, coach or buddy. Just as buddy systems for your team can provide a great support framework within your organisation. Having a mentor is good practice for managers to help them develop, grow and gain critical feedback to support their development. A mentor can be internal or external to your organisation. Importantly they need to be able to support you with reflective practice and constructive feedback.

8. Take action.  Sitting staring at your reflective notes will not help you progress or move forward. Identifying what you need to do differently, what behaviours you need to retain and those you need to change are important, as is your next step in taking action. Do not leave your thoughts in your reflective journal, decide which first steps you need to take to move forward.

There is no magic wand, no one size fits all answer to developing yourself and those of your team. However, reflective practice is a great starting point if you want to develop your skills, your practice and become an even better manager.

If you would like to discuss how reflection, mentoring, coaching and training managers can be implemented in your business, please get in touch Tracy-Anne Barker @ TA Barker Associates

TA Barker Associates are a training, coaching and mentoring business with 30 years of experience in the Construction, Retail, Recruitment, Charity, Public Sector, Training, Education, Supply Chain, Overseas Trading and Hospitality industries.

Founded by Tracy-Anne Barker, the Manager’s Mentor, they specialise in working with leaders and managers. They provide ambitious and growing companies with experts who partner with you to build long term relationships, deliver practical and strategic solutions for your business, personalised to suit you. These include coaching and training for your team, management and consultancy support.  

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