For the last decade of work, I had a longer commute to work. I could use this time to prepare my mind for the day ahead, looking through the windshield at all the possibilities. As my day completed, I could look back through the rearview mirror, leaving behind issues I could handle tomorrow as I reminded myself of all we accomplished today and the work at home ahead as I turned back to the road ahead. I rarely spent enough time holding the mirror in my hands to reflect on my personal needs. Do you have a reflection time set aside? Which mirror or mirrors do you use?
The best time to reflect on the beginning to the start of your day is your commute. Maybe your commute is a short one; you travel in a different way to get to work or not at all. Take a few minutes each morning to reflect on how to approach your day.
Maybe you want to pose one of these questions to yourself or to your team to think about.
- How can I share power and decision-making?
- How can I bring more joy and celebration to our efforts?
- How can we have accountability in our efforts without losing our momentum?
- How do I best-set examples for others?
- How do I help get others excited and improve my abilities to maintain the excitement?
- What are our beliefs and values? Do my beliefs and values match? Do my beliefs and values help guide my actions as a leader? Are we performing based on the beliefs and values of the organization?
- What is my source of self-confidence? Do I have self-confidence? Can I help build self-confidence in others?
- What is one thing we can begin today to do every day consistently that will help us reach our mission and accomplish our vision?
- Does everyone know our destination and believe we can get there?
Rearview Mirror Questions
We can pack up our belongings and head home. There is no need to take all of the unfinished business home to do because it will greet you in the morning. Trying to overdo it each day will cause severe health issues over time. Complete what is essential and take time to unwind, rewind and refresh.
Spending time with family, friends, and faith is needed to help your mind, body, and soul recover from a hard work day. Asking yourself these questions on the commute home will provide a time of reflection on all you accomplished in the day. In addition, reflection helps you learn to let go of what you cannot control.
- What are the small wins of the day? Identify each one and celebrate them. Every small win adds together to impact the overall success of a positive culture significantly.
- Recognize today’s contributions by staff, students, parents, and community members. What are the positives from the gifts today? How can we build on these? Write notes to those who made contributions today.
- How did I model leadership today? How can I improve my leadership?
- Did I see areas of the beliefs and values of the organization demonstrated? How can we improve on representing our mission and vision?
- How did I spend my time today? Did I spend enough time on instruction? Did I speak with, at, or to students? How many conversations did I have to provide direct feedback to support and improve?
- Did I provide opportunities for collaboration and innovation?
- Is there enough time provided for all voices to be heard in meetings?
Handheld Mirror Questions
It is never easy to look at yourself and determine the areas you need to improve because you have fears and do not always provide the best-unbiased opinions. I know I have said, “I don’t do that.” The harsh truth is sometimes hard to swallow, but to make the growth we need, we must be honest. So asking these questions will only hurt you in asking and answering. But once we can identify issues, we can find solutions.
- Why would people want to follow me as a leader?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
- What kind of leader do I want to be?
- What do I fear to keep me from being the leader I want to be?
- If you were one of your current staff members, would you be satisfied?
- As you ask these questions, what are you thinking?
- What change can you make today to help you be the leader you want to be?
- What is your leadership philosophy?
Taking time to use questions to ask yourself and others is an integral part of reflection. Seeking to understand and then working to develop plans for improvement drives growth. Action steps taken keep us moving forward in the direction of our mission and vision. Success is achieved when we actively work to grow, improve and develop.