Monday, 8 July 2013

4 Reflective Questions Every Leader Should Ask

If you stop to consider how people grow and develop, you will find ways to ensure your team reaches its potential...as a very natural part of what you all do.

First, it helps if you are aware of what makes people tick! So become curious about how the mind works, how your team think as individuals, to create a group of people that are highly motivated to learn and grow.

Through established brain research, it has been shown that our neural networks are pruned and modified when we learn new ideas, concepts and skills through experience.
Here's how it it works
  • information is received in our sensory cortex
  • the rear integrative cortex then makes meaning of that information
  • new ideas are created from this meaning in our front integrative cortex
  • using the motor cortex, we then act on those ideas

We all know that a key part of learning is taking ownership. That is, if people feel in control and are aware of the progress they are making, they want to continue doing it.

Over the past few years, coaching has been widely recognised as the most effective way to raise this awareness and encourage ownership, helping the individual or team to consciously walk through the way we learn by shining a light on what has been learned from a project or task, and what will be done differently as a result.

This can be done simply, on the job and without any great formality by asking the following four questions:
  1. What happened? This first question encourages greater awareness of events. 
  2. What did you think and feel? This question begins to surface the emotions and thoughts, as well as the meaning that has been made.
  3. What did you learn? This one encourages the person to recognise the learning. This is often a very different way of thinking from some traditional learning approaches, which tend to emphasise the need to memorise and regurgitate hard information or 'facts'.
  4. What will you do differently as a result of this? The last question in this series encourages the individual to identify future action as a result of this learning.

This reflective framework may at first sight seem deceptively simple. But as it grows in familiarity, it can become a really powerful habit. 

Build them into your day to day conversations, make them part of everything you do, and notice the difference they make.  

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