Are You Keeping a Leadership Journal?
06 September 2017

If you keep a leadership journal, you’ll be in good company. Great leaders keep journals. Amongst those who kept a journal were Teddy Roosevelt, Ernest Shackleton, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, John D Rockefeller and Sir Edmund Hilary.

In doing so they were all putting into practice a tip left behind by the Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher Confucius (551–479 BC),who said:

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.”

Keeping a journal can help:

  • boost your mood and release stress;
  • you get better organised;
  • improve your decision making;
  • improve your judgement;
  • re-focus your thinking.

Putting your leadership experiences and thoughts onto paper enables you to reflect on your actions so you learn what worked, what didn’t, and adjust along the way. While great leaders are often action men and women, they know that timely reflection can make them far more effective.

In one experiment researchers put two groups of people through the same technical training. One group was asked to spend the last 15 minutes of their day reflecting on what they learnt in a journal. The group which used the last 15 minutes of the day to reflect in a journal performed 22.8% better on their final assessment score than the group that did not.

Keeping a leadership journal will help you expand your self-awareness of your strengths, your energisers, what challenges you and what can derail you. This emotional intelligence (the ability to know and manage yourself and others) is a key driver of success in leadership.
The practice of keeping a journal enables leaders to see what's happening with a greater perspective, so they are able to respond with greater agility to change and lead effectively.

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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.

Copyright © 2022 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.