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A Goldilocks Leadership Conundrum

Last post we talked about the five facets of resilient leadership. One of the facets was:

  • No Rumination. Going over and over and over something in your head is not helpful. You can’t change the past, so focus on the future and what you WILL do, not what you could have done. Resilient leadership means handling difficulties in ways that foster strength and growth, not frustration.

One of our awesome readers (like you) wrote to us, I think this is tricky. Maybe going over and over and OVER something isn’t helpful. But not looking at the past at all is no good either. Maybe the difference is purpose/outcome – if you are just ruminating as part of a process of self-loathing, that is bad, but if you are reflecting on “how could this be better?” that is OK?
 
This is an excellent point that we want to further clarify. As our reader suggested, there is a nuanced difference between rumination and reflection.
 
”Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” – Margaret J. Wheatley
 
Some people are prone towards too much unhealthy rumination, while others do too little healthy reflection. How do you find the “just right” in each life situation? This is easier said than done.
 
This is a Goldilocks leadership principle – how do we find the right amount?
 
You get more of what you focus on. Reflection is fantastic when it’s used for improvement. We learned the “formula” to WIN at this from Keith Webb:

  • What went well?
  • What would you Improve?
  • What will you do differently Next time? 

Here are two ways to get the “just right” amount of healthy reflection:

  1. Consider WHY you are thinking about something (to get better? or to beat yourself up?)  
  2. Apply the WIN formula on a regular basis. Use it to consider your day, a meeting, a conversation…make it a habit!

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