I just returned from a wonderful vacation in the northwest of the U.S. and Canada. That part of the world possesses incredible natural beauty and laid-back charm. Very different from the hustle and bustle of the northeast U.S. where I spend most of my professional and personal life. Many leaders know intuitively that they get refreshed when they take breaks but another really exciting phenomenon takes place when we step away from our routines.
We are able to view and think about our work worlds from a new perspective.
We are able to view our typical workload through a new lens.
We become empowered to lead with fresh eyes.
Here are seven ways to lead with fresh eyes:
1. APPROACH THE NEXT PROJECT AS IF IT WAS THE FIRST
There’s nothing more special than a new beginning and tackling something for the first time. It’s invigorating and opens us up. Think back to when you did one of your routine assignments for the first time. Can you remember what that felt like? I can remember the excitement of presenting one of my first trainings and the thrill of knowing I could make a difference in someone’s professional life. Of course I also had some trepidation, but my adrenalin was pumping.
2. BRAINSTORM NEW POSSIBILITIES
A great way to lead with fresh eyes is to allow our minds a brainstorming session. Instead of going through the same motions to complete a deliverable, change it up. Identify several different strategies that you haven’t used before. Trust your gut and give it a whirl. Even if it takes longer, the energy we bring to brainstorming will often produce innovation we never thought.
3. CONDUCT NEW RESEARCH
Fresh eyes allow leaders to go back to the drawing board and pursue new research. We empower ourselves with questions:
- What new studies have come out about this topic?
- Is there a new book or author that may shed light on my project?
- Should I set up a lunch with someone on my team or someone in the company who may have helpful insights?
4. COMMIT TO TAKING NEW RISKS
When we give ourselves permission to see our facts and experiences through a different lens, we are likely to take a leap. During one of my workshops one leader decided to review the new firm values and see how they might impact the direction he was guiding his team. He realized that there might be new technology that might support the organization’s new path that involved working across departments. He set out to form inter-department monthly meetings. Think about a risk you have wanted to take and clear away the roadblocks.
5. SWAP SKEPTICISM FOR OPTIMISM
There is a place and time for not jumping into new waters without a healthy dose of evaluation. Yet, there is also a time for remaining open-minded and optimistic. When we lead with fresh eyes we tend to focus on the things that may work instead of dwelling on the broken parts. One of my clients was zeroing in on how poorly prepared her new supervisors were to lead their teams, while she needed to also see what value they each brought. She wasn’t in as rough shape as she initially thought.
6. ALLOW YOUR HEART OUT
Fresh eyes are respectful of feelings and beliefs.
- Ask team members how things are going
- Be respectful of different backgrounds and cultures
- Show compassion for challenges people are facing by helping them out and strategizing
- Be a leader with heart
7. CONTINUE ON THE NEW PATH
Once we lead through our fresh eyes don’t let up. Remind yourself every few months to regroup and challenge the status quo. You may be surprised on the outcome.
How have you led with fresh eyes?