It’s well documented that leaders who excel make time to reflect. When you’re working in a fast paced, high pressure environment finding the time to do that can be difficult. That’s why just 15 minutes of focused, daily journalling can make the difference between good and great leaders. We take a look at the link between leadership journalling and performance.

Studies support the positive relationship between the ability to press pause and success. Outstanding leaders create the space to reflect. They commit to developing self awareness. They use those windows of time to develop their self awareness and insight. Leadership journalling is one of the most effective ways to do just that.

The Benefits of Leadership Journalling

Leadership journalling provides a regular opportunity to

  • Explore questions or recent events
  • Capture ideas
  • Reflect on specific events and consider your performance
  • Consider difficult conversations that you may have been avoiding
  • Focus on your goals
  • Writing every day develops mindfulness
  • Journalling has been linked to an increase in emotional intelligence, particularly, self awareness
  • Reflect on your ability to make decisions, evaluate and consider recent situations
  • Positively reinforce what you are doing well and an opportunity to focus on solutions in areas that you feel are not working.

Leaders who Journal

Don’t take our word for it. Leadership journalling has long been used as an important professional development tool. So who has benefitted from putting pen to paper every day?

  • Barack Obama
  • Marie Curie
  • Winston Churchill
  • Emma Watson
  • Marco Polo
  • Alice Dunbar Nelson
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Charles Darwin
  • Mark Twain

The ability to reflect, analyse and gain insight into your own cognitive process as a leader is key. But how?

Leadership Journalling Prompts

A leadership is journal is a powerful tool. Having a structure in mind can be enormously helpful to start the process (although we know some leaders who write free form for 15 minutes each morning). In our leadership coaching we often recommend the Gibbs Model of Reflection. This model guides you through a series of stages to help you clarify what you are thinking and feeling in any given situation. Each stage can provide an important prompt.

Gibbs Stages of Reflection for Leadership Journalling

  1. What happened?
  2. How were you feeling?
  3. List things that were good about the experience
  4. What was bad about the experience?
  5. How are you able to make sense of the experience?
  6. What else could you have done?
  7. If it happened again, what would you do?

 

Gibbs Reflective Cycle for Leadership Journalling
Gibbs Reflective Cycle for Leadership Journalling

 

Over time, using a journal to reflect can help you to recognise habitual cognitive patterns, recurring themes, providing deep insight into your performance.

“Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself.” Robin Sharma

How to use a Journal for Business

  1. Buy a journal or create an online journal
  2. Commit to 15 minutes of writing every day.
  3. Choose a time that works for you. This could be the beginning of the day, when you sit down at your desk. You might even choose to sit in a park over lunch and journal in nature. Maybe you prefer to journal before bed. Choose what works for you, you’ll be more likely to stick to it.
  4. Think of your journal as a conversation with yourself. It’s for your eyes only so you don’t need to self censor when you write.

Leadership Journalling Prompts

  1. Ask yourself, what is my intention today?
  2. Where is my focus best placed?
  3. What am I avoiding? Why?
  4. Could I have been a more effective leader in a recent situation?
  5. Is there a goal I would like to work on?

Using a journal on a regular basis will help you to see the world from a different perspective. Journalling daily enables you to understand yourself on a deeper level and identify your thought processes more easily. It’s a journey of self discovery that will take your leadership to another level.

We work with Fortune 100 companies to provide leadership coaching, training and consultancy. To find out more about leadership journalling and performance, get in touch and discover how you can work with us, we’d love to hear from you.

 

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