Military Leadership Tip About Reflecting on Your Experience

I’m always looking for helpful leadership tips to improve my effectiveness.

Along the way, I’ve learned a few things that really helped me increase my effectiveness.

In today’s lesson, I’d like to share a tip about the importance of “reflecting on each experience.”

I think that experience is overrated.

Instead, it’s evaluated experience that is most important.

Everyone has some type of experience, but very few people evaluate their experiences effectively, and learn from their mistakes.

The best way to “reflect” is to spend some time each week, or at the end of each day, and evaluate what happened.

Write down what went right, what went wrong and what you would do in a similar situation.

File this “sheet” in your leader book or in a file so you can refer back to it when needed.

Personally, I try to do this each day.

At the end of each work day, I sit down at my desk for 10 minutes an analyze my work day.

I review my goals for the day and compare it to what I actually accomplished.

Also, I write down what went right, what went wrong, and what I would do differently to get better results.

I keep all of this information in a journal to review at a later date.

The power of doing this exercise is amazing.

If you learn just one helpful tip each day, it’s worth it.

Over the course of a year, you could easily learn 365 new things.

Think about how much more productive you would be if you learned 365 new things this year.

You would probably be the most productive person you know.

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Once again, success does not happen by accident.

Effective leadership does not happen by accident either.

The most successful people I know spend a considerable amount of time focusing on their personal growth.

And the easiest and fastest way to do this is to spend 10 minutes each day evaluating your daily performance.

Think of it as an internal After Action Review (AAR).

You probably realize that the Army conducts AARs after every mission for a reason.

It’s because the leaders want to know what they did right, what they did wrong and what they can do better next time.

More importantly, they want to share these lessons with everyone else, so everyone in the unit can improve.

So, at the end of each work day, spend 10 minutes and evaluate your day.

Conduct an internal After Action Review about what went right, what went wrong, and what you could do better.

Write this information in a journal so you can refer back to it from time to time.

Try to learn something new each day, so you can improve tomorrow.

Do this for a consistent period of time and you will surpass all of your peers.

Good luck!

Do you have any questions?

Would you like to share any tips about what you have learned about leadership?

Please comment below.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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6 thoughts on “Military Leadership Tip About Reflecting on Your Experience”

  1. This is an important lesson because no matter what has happened you can learn something from it if you can examine it critically. Nothing is ever 100% good or 100% bad, everything falls somewhere in between. Honestly note the things that you have done right and the things you have done wrong. Try to continue your positive attributes while trying to mitigate the negative ones.

  2. It is always good to reflect on what occurred each day. What can I do to fix what I did wrong? What went right, and how can I make that happen more?

    This is where I suggest a journal, or diary is good. As a day goes by, just jot down things that happen and the outcomes from them. This will give you something to look at as you reflect. It is easy to forget some of the smaller things during a day’s activities; a journal will help you remember all.

  3. Taking time to reflect is vital. I try to do that for 10 minutes every day, right before I go to bed. It allows me to look at my day objectively and make improvements for the following day.

  4. Taking some time to reflect is very important. Leaders should do this weekly throughout their career. At the end of each week, take an hour or two and evaluate your week (just like an AAR). Write down what your goals were, what actually happened and what you would do differently next time around. This can pay huge dividends and allow you to progress as a leader very quickly.

  5. A vital part of leadership is to know how to build on the good things and retool when things don’t go as planned. Keeping a journal is a great way to do this. There are now many options for on-line journals which may help people who type faster than they write. There are even ones for smartphones too.

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