Cognitive Behavioral Leadership (CBL): Keep a Leadership JournalPosted on November 10, 2019

Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA, DLFAPA

Why are leaders hesitant to do this?

To be frank, most leaders don’t see the need to use such a tool. These average leaders are comfortable meeting the minimum requirements of their jobs, which they view as the way to finance their real lives outside work. Using a leadership journal consumes some time most leaders would rather use binge-watching TV or being emotionally aroused by social media. And this tool requires leaders to pursue uncomfortable reflection, a strenuous mental activity avoided by those whose mission in life is to not do what they don’t feel like doing.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

If you are one of those lucky leaders who view your opportunity to lead others as more than just a job, you will immediately see the value such a journal will add to your leadership journey. Recording your leadership reflections and insights will not be a chore, but an exciting opportunity to learn. Your journal will help you recognize and replace your flawed beliefs, and execute more effective behaviors. And it will serve as a repository for your research and as a rich source of material for sharing what you have learned about leadership with others.

How can you do it?

  1. View every uncomfortable leadership challenge as an opportunity to learn. Before the emotions of the moment disappear, make a brief note in your journal about what happened, how you felt, what you did, and what beliefs might have fueled your responses. Then, note what, with the value of hindsight, you might have done differently.
  2. Participate in a leadership learning group. You can learn a great deal on your own, but you will learn much more as a member of a group of passionate leaders who are determined to improve by sharing what they are learning with each other.
  3. Leverage technology to maximize your learning. Some will prefer paper and pen, but the advantages of a digital notebook such as OneNote are significant. Because your journal is stored in the cloud, your reflections are immediately available on any personal digital device within reach. And using this technology will help you stay on the digital learning curve. As a lifelong learner, you cannot afford to fall behind on the technology learning curve.

How have you used a leadership journal effectively?

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