So much is happening for a new manager. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day to get everything done. Adapting to the extra responsibilities and beginning to manage people is an emotional drain (if not a rollercoaster!) This is why every new manager must give themselves time for reflection.
It may seem counterproductive to take time away from your tasks to ‘reflect’ but it’s the exact opposite. Used correctly, reflection time is a powerful tool and can be the differentiator between success or failure, including keeping check of your own health.
Why is it important?
Without quality time to look back and think on recent events, interactions, challenges you may miss key learnings. Thinking through each person in the team helps identify how you can help them. Thinking through recent meetings and interactions helps consider if they were effective or if there could be improvements.
Reflection time gives you the opportunity take a step back from the daily BAU to create a better future for your team and you.
Don’t live by the past, let it shape your future.
A weekly reflection is recommended. A lot can happen in a week! Having it weekly usually means Friday is the best day. But it must be a day and time that suits you, don’t choose a slot that will regularly need to be moved or when you’re not in the correct frame of mind.
First thing Friday morning for 30 minutes works for me.
The time it takes will save more than that in the future with the takeaways that you learn and put into action.
Get away from your desk
Find a location that works for you, as long as it’s away from your desk! A place outside or listening to relaxing music, maybe?
Wherever your place is it must be free from distractions.
Plan your reflection time
Have a set of questions to ask yourself that will guide your reflection time.
- Think about each person in your team:
- What did they do well?
- How effective were their recent interactions?
- Any responsibilities from your career Framework to discuss with them?
- Any areas of concern to watch out for?
- What can you show appreciation for?
- What is going well with the team you should recognise and keep doing?
- What hasn’t gone well you need to consider changing?
- What small changes can you make to improve the team?
- Any communication to be shared with your team or outside?
What about you?
Reflection time is also for self-reflection…
- What have you learnt this week?
- Are there interactions you could have handled differently?
- Any recent interviews to reflect on? Is your hiring process working?
- Are there any responsibilities you should pay more attention to?
- What can you seek advice for from a coach or peer?
- What do you personally need for your wellbeing?
Embrace this time
Reflection time should be a time you look forward to because you know the value it creates.
You may not have something for each question every time, which is fine, the main aim is having a regular set of areas to reflect on.
Arguably everyone who is looking to grow should create time to reflect, it’s an important and powerful habit. For new managers, it’s essential.