Positive Piers, or dangerously reflective?

Last updated May 13, 2022 | Developing staff

Positive Piers, or dangerously reflective?

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Some people spend a lot of time reflecting on performance, considering how things went and “beating themselves up”. Others seem to focus on moving forward. Like many things in life, both are wrong, in excess. Which is your normal trait and that of your team members?

What can overly reflective people learn from Piers Morgan?

Piers Morgan has been in the news a lot lately (again). I may disagree with most of his campaigns and comments, but recently read an article about him and thought – Oh, interesting.

What can all overly reflective people (many of them are introverted) learn from Piers Morgan? First, the background:

  • A year ago, he lost his job at Good Morning Britain, after storming off set during a row about the Duchess of Sussex.
  • He’s been dismissed as the editor of the Daily Mirror, for running fake photos of British troops torturing prisoners in Iraq.
  • His CNN show was recently pulled due to falling ratings. He’s upbeat about his stint at CNN, even though some say it ended badly. “I went to CNN and replaced Larry King and did 1,200 shows… with millions of eyeballs every night, interviewed everyone I could possibly want to interview, left after four years and people say, ‘You failed.

Here’s the bit I think overly reflective people might take on board.

“I’m the only British person who’s ever done that in the US – how do you categorise that as failure? I look at my level of failure and I’m quite relaxed about it.”

We all “fail” sometimes, should we all be more relaxed about it?

Too much self-reflection?

Introverts tend to be more reflective than extroverts (Introvert – to turn inward). There is a power in spending time reflecting, understanding what was good, not so good and bad about something.

  • Allows one to gain perspective
  • Helps one respond more effectively
  • Promotes learning and understanding

Self-reflection can improve future performance if it is future focused and like Piers Morgan doesn’t dwell on “failure”.

However, it can become too much. If too much time is spent in self-reflection, it moves into emotional self-flagellation. That’s not reflection, it’s stupid (and painful).

Helping your team people focus on the positive

Reflection is about discovering something new, not endlessly replaying a situation. Successful reflection avoids self-judgment about the results and leads one to taking clear affirmative action.

Where you have team members who focus on the negatives too much, it’s possible they went beyond self-reflection. Help them take a better focus with three questions:

  1. What was the positive intent behind the action?
  2. What’s the most positive thing that happened?
  3. What is the action you are taking as a result?

Help your overly reflective team members be more relaxed about “failure” (you might choose to use another word for it) and don’t then start giving them unrequested feedback (which is often just ego waving).

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