To be more effective at work, start your day by thinking about what kind of leader you want to be, research suggests.
“It’s as simple as taking a few moments in the morning while you’re drinking your coffee to reflect on who you want to be as a leader,” says Remy Jennings, a doctoral student in the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business.
When study participants took that step, they were more likely to report helping coworkers and providing strategic vision than on days they didn’t do the morning reflection. They also felt more leader-like on those days, perceiving more power and influence in the office.
The effects also extend to aspiring leaders.
“Leadership is really challenging, so a lot of people are hesitant to tackle leadership roles or assignments,” says coauthor and professor of management Klodiana Lanaj. “Reflecting a few minutes in the morning really makes a difference.”
And unlike being given extra responsibility or leading a team project, a morning reflection is under the employee’s control.
“They’re not dependent on their organization to provide formal opportunities. They don’t have to wait until they have that title that says they’re a leader to take on leadership in their work,” Jennings says.
Want to try a morning leadership boost? The researchers recommend these prompts:
- What are some of your proudest leadership moments?
- What qualities do you have that make you a good leader, or will in the future?
- Think about who you aspire to be as a leader, then imagine everything has gone as well as it possibly could in this leader role. What does that look like?
- What effect do you want to have on your employees? Do you want to motivate them? Inspire them? Identify and develop their talents? What skills or traits do you have that can help with those goals?
Whether you’re the boss or on your way up the ladder, “this is a tool to be more effective at work,” Lanaj says. “Just a few minutes can entirely change your focus for the rest of your day.”
A paper on the work appears in the journal Personnel Psychology.
Original Study DOI: 10.1111/peps.12447
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