Leadership is a dynamic and ever-evolving role. Whether you're leading a small team or a whole department, the ability to adapt, grow, and make well-informed decisions is crucial. There is one powerful tool that most people don’t take advantage of that can help you become a better leader or a manager: leadership journaling.
According to Antonio Garrido, this week's podcast guest, journaling, if habitually done, can help improve your leadership skills. Antonio has more than twenty-five years of senior leadership experience in world-class businesses, as well as speaking, coaching, and writing multiple books. He shares in-depth insights into how you can cultivate journaling as a habit and use it to transform your leadership skills.
Your Job is to Maximize Potential
According to Antonio, whether you're a leader or a manager, both roles are about maximizing potential. And I couldn't agree more.
Leaders and managers are responsible for maximizing the potential of themselves, their people, and, therefore, the organization as a whole by default.
While most of us naturally improve our skills over time, to truly unleash your potential, you have to be intentional. However, it’s not always obvious what areas of ourselves we need to work on in order to become a more effective manager.
Self-Awareness Overcomes Blind Spots
One of the fundamental principles of effective leadership is self-awareness. Self-awareness is understanding, knowing, and seeing ourselves for our strengths and weaknesses.
As Antonio said, we will always struggle until we can tap on our self-awareness button. And leadership journaling plays a crucial role in developing self-awareness.
Let's admit it: we all have blind spots. But we don't know what they are; otherwise, they wouldn’t be blind spots. Getting insight into your weaknesses is especially challenging if you're in a senior position. That’s because few people will be brave enough to tell you the truth about your behavior.
Does anyone from your team ever confront you about what’s not working for them with your leadership style? So, if your team members aren't telling you how you are as a leader or manager, how do you uncover your blind spots?
The answer: using assessments and journaling. While assessments can give us an external perspective, journaling is a method that helps us find those blind spots that we're maybe aware of but have been buried deep down because we haven't tapped into that self-awareness yet.
Journaling as a Habit
According to Antonio, journaling is not "Dear diary," a to-do list, or your life experience. For someone who has tried journaling on and off and hasn't quite stuck to it, I found it refreshing to hear that journaling for leadership growth is more than that.
Antonio says leadership journaling is designed to awaken the wisdom inside of you; the process can be very brief but intentional. Lucky for us, we can begin feeling the benefits right away, even from day one. And after a few weeks, once you see the data trends, you can take even more action.
So, how do you make journaling a habit?
Invest In It
Journaling is an activity that you’ll do every day, possibly for the rest of your life. You deserve to have the right tools that make you feel good about your journaling practice. Antonio recommends investing in a nice journal or pen. Although we're living in a digital age where everything is accessible online, there is something different that happens in the brain when we write in a physical journal. Plus, I find it more compelling to stick with a habit when I’ve got new, exciting tools that I’ve spent money on.
Set The Time
If journaling is just another thing on your to-do list, it's likely not going to happen. Instead, Antonio recommends we schedule a few minutes each morning before we begin working and a few minutes at the end of the day for journaling. Whether you're tired, not feeling well, or busy, it’s still important to journal every day. This is how you build that muscle until journaling becomes a habit.
Use Journaling Prompts
Journaling prompts are helpful when it comes to ensuring you do it daily. It takes the guesswork out of what you’re supposed to write about. This can be as simple as asking yourself every morning: What is the one thing I need to accomplish today? Or, before bed, ask yourself: How would I rate myself today? What could I have done differently to get a higher rating?
In Antonio's leadership program, he and his team have identified competencies for their clients to work on. Every day, they provide their clients with journal prompts to focus their attention on developing one of those competencies.
Leadership journaling is a powerful tool that can significantly enhance your leadership skills. By consistently reflecting on how you show up as a manager, like how you handled a difficult decision or resolved a conflict, and analyzing data trends, you can gain insight into your leadership style and tap into greater self-awareness. So, take out that journal and pen and start your leadership journaling journey now. Your future self (and team members) will thank you for it.
Listen to my entire conversation with Antonio HERE for an in-depth discussion about when and how to do journaling correctly and make it a habit.
Connect with Antonio:
- Follow Antonio on LinkedIn here
- Get the latest updates on My Daily Leadership on LinkedIn here
- Visit My Daily Leadership for more information here
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