The Action – Observation – Reflection Model

Action – Observation – Reflection Model

Experiential learning is of paramount importance for a leader because in different companies and settings people may require different leadership approaches, so a leader has to know how to act in their particular company or setting. The action – observation – reflection model allows for enhancing the process of learning based on experience, which is why it is crucial for leaders.

The model consists of three main steps: action, observation, and reflection (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2009). Also, perception plays a pivotal role in the model at each of its phases. In the first step, after the leader has taken an action, he or she needs to consider carefully what he or she did. At this point, the leader perceives his or her actions in a certain way. Next, the leader observes the results of that action, its impact on other individuals, and considers that; it should be noted that the observation is also done from a certain point of view.

Finally, the leader has to engage in the process of reflection, analyzing his or her thoughts about the impact of the action which was taken at the first step of the model; the analysis will also be done from a certain point of view. This allows for carefully considering the impact of one’s actions to be able to act better and more effectually in the future. It is also very important to point out that perception plays a critical role at each step of the process, modifying how the leader understood and observed his or her actions (Hughes et al, 2009).

Thus, one should be aware that the elements which are being analyzed using the model are only perceived from a certain point of view, and it might be useful to adapt other viewpoints as well, to better understand the situation.

On the whole, it should be stressed that learning from experience is a crucial skill for any leader. Therefore, it is paramount for a leader to be able to use experiential learning models such as the Action – Observation – Reflection model.


Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R. C., & Curphy, G. J. (2009). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience (6th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Irwin. Web.