The ability to reflect is at the centre of leadership skills – new book states


“Reflective ability is one of the most underrated leadership skills,” says Annastiina Mäki, Psycon’s leading consultant and leadership researcher.

Mäki has edited a collection of articles on leadership titled Johtamisvainu – Näkemyksellisyyttä johtamiseen (2022). The book puts reflection at the centre of leadership skills and approaches it from three perspectives.

“A leader with reflective ability can make insightful observations about themselves, their community, and other people, as well as their operating environment. However, reflection is not just observing, but also the ability to impartially process the information produced by these observations,” describes Mäki.

Mäki became interested in leaders’ reflective ability while researching leadership culture for her doctoral thesis.

“Many leaders share the same challenges: leadership is not effective, organizational innovation lags, and developing the business halts. When I encounter such challenges, I ask whether we are really listening to what is happening in the workplace and the operating environment.”

Mäki has years of experience working with leadership development at Psycon and other organizations and has discussed these topics with many respected leaders and leadership researchers.

“At Psycon, we have a tremendous opportunity to look at leadership from many different angles and perspectives of various organizations. My networks have also noted the importance of reflective ability and the need to develop.”

Mäki’s book features a diverse group of experts in workplace behaviour and leadership research, as well as accomplished leaders. Their views on today’s most important leadership themes share professor emeritus Pauli Juuti, Kirsi Karlamaa, CEO of Traficom, and Mikael Nederström, Research Director at Psycon, among others.

When asked about leadership themes for the future, Mäki mentions humanity in leadership in addition to reflection.

“Leadership ideals still, in part, reflect the concept of the leader as a lone hero, which is no longer justified. Human beings are not machines, and no one can do everything alone. In the future, it’s not about who wakes up at five o’clock, but who can understand human behaviour, including their own, the best.”