Stay energized through self-reflection!

self reflection leadership

By Martin Royal

For many leaders, the responsibilities associated with their roles can take a significant toll on their energy levels. Leaders make many decisions, participate in diverse daily tasks, attend many meetings, and monitor progress on organizational goals. There is evidence that these responsibilities slowly take away the leader's energy and ability to remain engaged at work. When this energy depletion occurs, leader performance may suffer and they may be prone to violate work norms and expectations, and this may also further impact their teams and direct reports. In more extreme cases, this can lead to the leader's burnout.
A recent study by Lanaj, Foulk, and Erez (2019) explored how leaders can re-energize themselves through self-reflection activities. These leaders were asked to reflect on themselves and to write about things like "three things you like about yourself that make you a good leader", "three valuable skills that you have that make you a good leader", etc. They would do that, every morning, for two weeks.

The researchers found that on the days leaders positively reflected about themselves, those leaders would experience a reduction in energy depletion and increased work engagement. What this did is to remind leaders of their priorities and goals and their leader identity that they can rely on to manage the day's challenges.

Their results highlighted the impact of expressive writing to help leaders channel their energy toward the work that matters most.

If you'd like to see the effect for yourself, here are the questions that the leaders were asked to reflect on:

· What are three things you like about yourself that make you a good leader?
· What are three valuable skills that you have that make you a good leader?
· What are three useful traits that you possess that make you a good leader?
· What are three personal achievements that you are proud of that make you a good leader?
· What are three things that you are good at that make you a good leader?

We invite you to share with us the effect it had on you!


Reference:

Lanaj, K., Foulk, T.A., & Erez, A (2019). Energizing leaders via self-reflection: A within-person field experiment, Journal of Applied Psychology, 104(1), 1-18.