Honest self-reflection is important for understanding your own existence and who you are as a person. The same principles outlined here can almost as easily be applied to a business as they can for an individual such as yourself.
Know your own story – where you came from, where you’ve been, where you see yourself going in the future. The more you can figure out the “why” of how things happened in the past, the more you’ll be able to understand how you react in certain situations and change that behavior if necessary. In other words, try to figure out why you do what you do.
In addition to that, be aware of bad experiences from your past. Do this with the mind of trying to better manage future behavior, especially in stressful situations. How can you use what you learned from that fight with your friend in your next media rights arbitration? How can you use what you learned about yourself from that miscommunication with your spouse to better manage communication with your boss?
Think about what freaks you out – nails on a chalkboard? Also think about what stresses you out – a brawl in the beer garden? Your secretary constantly double-booking your appointments? What are you doing to manage the fears your have, both personally as well as what those fears represent in life and in work?
Use coaches and allies and mentors to ask for advice on how to do things differently; but not only those people who you admire and respect but also your co-workers and supervisors. Although the mentor-mentee relationship is usually one centered around personal improvement, your colleagues are the ones who see you everyday and will be able to quickly point out your flaws (hopefully with respect and care). During your next set of performance reviews, or preferably before that time, set forth an unofficial 360degree review. You review your boss after they review your performance, or vice versa if you’re not boss yet. What you’ll need: an open mind, humility, empathy.
These are skills I think many of us need to work on, myself included. It’s only once we’re aware of what needs to be changed that we can make those changes though, so start with some personal reflection and go from there. Talk to people, but start with your own heart and soul.