When you’re on a hamster wheel at work, it can be hard to carve out the time to reflect on your performance and achievements. However hard it is, self-reflection is a critical process if we are ever to do things differently – or if we have desires to stretch and grow at work.
Self-reflection is a way of assessing yourself, your ways of working and how you learn. Managers go through this process regularly with their team but it’s not often that we turn the lens around and look at our own performance. This article from HR Zone explains how – and why – the practice of self-reflection is key to identifying opportunities and to changing our habitual work practices so that we get better results.
When we talk about the process of reflection, what we’re really talking about is questioning – in a positive way – what we do and why we do it that way. It's only by doing this that we can assess whether there is a better way going forward. Of course, reflection can be done at any time in the year, but the start of the new year is a great time to set out your plans and priorities for the twelve months ahead. It’s also the time when we're most open to embracing new ways of doing things – so evaluating personal skills can really help to identify changes we might need to make.
It might be helpful to structure your questioning in the following areas:
- Strengths – are you well organised? Do you connect well with colleagues and customers?
- Weaknesses – are you easily distracted? Do you take on more than you should for fear of disappointing others? Are you inflexible and reluctant to change how you work?
- Skills – what are your core skills currently and what skills are you looking to develop?
- Achievements – what have you delivered this year that are you most proud of?
- Happiness – what gives you joy at work? What tasks do you look forward to?
Think also about any external factors that may have impacted your work over the year. Perhaps there were problems at home or with the children that took a lot of your attention over a certain period of time – identifying these external pressures enables us to better assess how we perform at work under stress.
Although self-reflection can seem difficult at first, there is evidence from Harvard Business School that it really does positivelyimpact on performance - so remember, practice makes perfect. You will find that it becomes easier and that the end result is not only a more productive year ahead – but also a happier and more fulfilling one too.