I have spent the past two days in a conference room in Canary Wharf with eager, interested, engaged university students and recently graduated leaders. Two days where I got to be totally nosy, observing people at close quarters, asking challenging questions, offering insight and hopefully helping people grow as leaders and managers. (My idea of heaven!)
I have had the pleasure of coaching team mangers on the UCL Focus on Management Course for the past two years, and it is something I always look forward to. It’s a fabulously run course that allows students to be in assessment-centre style case studies, engage with potential employers, learn about teamwork and themselves and hopefully get greater insight into what interests them with regards to future careers. For the team managers it’s a totally safe environment to find their natural management style, try out new techniques and ways of managing and motivating teams, push their comfort zone, learn from successes and failures and in the process become a better and more confident manager of teams.
A big part of the two days is teaching the team managers reflective practice. What did they do? What was the impact? What could they have done differently? What do they want to try next time? What are they hoping to achieve?
And through the two days their self awareness improves, they become aware of the impact they have on others, and how different leadership styles can result in different outcomes for a team.
And I was reflecting to myself; isn’t it amazing to have this opportunity to try out new ideas and reflect and make changes over two days. To have two days in a safe environment set aside for learning and feedback and action and change.
But you know what?
We ALL have this opportunity EACH and EVERY day.
We can try out a new way of being.
We can make a small change in our daily routine.
We can try a different way of starting a meeting, of interacting with a colleague, of starting a difficult discussion, of asking a challenging question. We can see what happens when we smile at the stranger, say thank you to the shop assistant or share our insights with a friend.
These opportunities are always there.
But do we take them?
And then do we take the chance to reflect on the impact?
And then learn from that experience?
And take a different action next time?
And reflect and learn again?
We don’t all have the opportunity to have someone follow us and observe us for two days. We don’t all have the chance to sit and have discussions with a coach about what we learned in the task we just performed. But we do all have the chance to reflect and learn.
We can try out something new, observe the impact, reflect and choose to do it again (or not!).
Is it a choice you are going to make?