Take a look in the mirror
Remember, what you reflect is what you project; make sure it's something that you'd want others—and yourself—to see.
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Mirrors are funny things.
Have you ever looked in one and been surprised by the reflection of the person staring back at you, silently wondering how long you’ve looked that way?
Many of us have a not-so-friendly relationship with the mirror, vilifying its existence, but a mirror isn’t inherently bad.
It’s simply a pane of glass coated on one side, whose sole job is to reflect what’s right in front of it, for better (like on a good hair day) or worse (like when you realize your “thoughtfully thinking” face appears more RBF).
Metaphorically speaking, we’re all mirrors, affected by the environments that we’re in, the people with whom we interact, and everything and everyone that comes into our lives on a daily basis.
And without knowing it, we reflect what we encounter, what we see, and what’s right in front of us.
Sometimes that can be really good.
And other times, not so good.
The best leaders understand that if they’re going to be a mirror anyway, why not make a conscious decision to be the best kind?
Be mindful of what you’re projecting
It’s one thing to reflect back to your team what you see and quite another to be mindful of what you’re unconsciously projecting. At a time when tensions and divisiveness are at an all-time high, exhibiting frustration, negativity, and complaining won’t lessen the stress and may inadvertently multiple it. Instead, use your awareness to intentionally demonstrate a calm, positive, solution-oriented presence.
Provide clarity to help others see the good
Most people are harder on themselves than any other person could possibly be, especially during trying times. Even the most self-aware among us could use a little objective yet kind perspective from time to time. Help others see themselves the way you do, highlighting their strengths and accomplishments.
Use 10x magnification wisely
There is a benefit to seeing things as they appear to others and digging a little deeper to examine something not easily seen at first glance. Leaders who can make visible parts of ourselves that we can’t see challenge us to proactively address any underlying fears or issues, leading to our continued growth.
Connect the dots between ‘show and tell’
When there’s a discrepancy between what you see versus what you’ve been told, use your reflective abilities to bring it to your team’s attention in a helpful way. By communicating any observed incongruence, you can connect the dots between “show and tell” and gain greater alignment to get back on track.
Use it to foster greater connection
In body language parlance, “mirroring” refers to adopting another person’s stance, gestures, and even vocal tone, often unconsciously. We’re literally trying to synch up with someone, which signals to others that they matter and that we’re in agreement with their ideas and attitudes.
To improve your mirroring, face someone directly when speaking with them, maintain eye contact, and provide active listening cues such as nodding. This behavior helps us bond with others, create rapport, and foster deeper connection.
Turn your mirror into a crystal ball to reveal what’s possible
Allow your mirror to become a window into the future, beyond the status quo, to see your team members’ potential. Help others recognize that they’re capable of great things even when they can’t see that for themselves.
Be the kind of mirror that when somebody looks at you, what they see reflected back to them is full of encouragement, support, goodness, and positivity; all those things we’d hope to see when we look into the mirror.
Another thing the best leaders do?
Embrace three little words: “I don’t know.”
ICYMI, in my recent Forbes article, I shared five reasons why you should too.
And to score a leadership hat trick?
Protect your time.
In my latest Forbes article, I share six easy ways to preserve yours.
P.S. When I’m not writing this newsletter or projecting what I’m reflecting, I’m a social media ghostwriter. (Yep, that’s a thing). I help founders, entrepreneurs, and CXOs craft their stories to communicate and connect better by magnifying their reach and impact. (Think personal branding and thought leadership.) Learn more here.
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