Bernie Callaghan: Reflecting on our experiences is so important

Dean of the faculty of business and law at the University of Sunderland Bernie Callaghan tells how we need to make time to reflect

Bernie Callaghan
Bernie Callaghan

We learn every day and often don’t know it.

Web browsing and emails mean we absorb instantly available information as a matter of course.

Our lifestyles are busy at home and at work.

We aspire to do more in less time. We rush through major decisions which can transform businesses, lives and futures.

The need to reflect on our everyday experiences, to watch and understand, is so important.

It lies behind successful learning and personal development in school, university or business. By taking a step back- a moment to reflect - we become surer of the best way forward and we learn from the experience.

Reflective practice allows us to judge situations from all angles before making a decision.

The likelihood that it will be a good decision is all the stronger because of the probing and filtering process that goes into its formulation and the learning that accompanies the experience.

The employability skills required by business include the need for reflection.

Young people are already good communicators.

They have amazing peer networks, often virtual, and have learned to deal with the demands of technology.

They need to translate those experiences into real skills for the workplace.

They need to reflect.

Decision-making is a fluid process which benefits from challenging perceptions, however right they seem to the majority.

Those people in the greatest rush through life are the ones most in need of time to quieten their minds and see past the next hour.

Recent economic turbulence has led many businesses to consider their leadership and management needs and think critically about the need for change.

This reflection leads to more effective leadership, and it in turn can transform company practice and staff confidence.

We can all get involved in reflective practice, whatever job we are in.

Mulling over ideas, sorting priorities and taking a longer look at the day’s events before they become lost opportunities used to be the purpose of a daily journal – and such a routine is still a helpful process.

Reflective leaders provide great role models for the next generation.

As corporate strategies become more complex and globalisation continues to grow, clear sure-footed thinking and decision-making are vital to business success.

If we all take the time to reflect, then not only do we learn something about ourselves, but we also become better employees, managers, leaders, friends and colleagues.

  • Professor Bernie Callaghan is dean of the faculty of business and law at the University of Sunderland


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