Seven Ways To Lead With Fresh Eyes

pic for fresh eyes

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?

8 thoughts on “Seven Ways To Lead With Fresh Eyes

  1. Thanks Terri. Love your ideas here.

    I just returned from a long weekend get away, so this post offered a fresh perspective for my return. A big project awaits me, and #1 will be employed to approach it with fresh eyes.

    Will share for sure.

  2. I’m glad this post connected with you at the right time, Terri! When we try to think back to some of our initial projects and how we viewed them, we can get back to a newbie mindset. We can try to open our thinking patterns and not just go back to business as usual. Love to hear how you do!

    Thanks Terri!

  3. Great post, Terri Klass! Your first point, looking at new project as though it was the first, really resonated with me. It’s all about attitude—the greatest mental toughness and leadership skill we have is the ability to choose one thought over another. If we remain positive and curious about the next project, it will change our entire approach…

  4. I love your point, LaRae that it is a choice to remain positive and curious. When we tackle new assignments it is always helpful to integrate some tried and true approaches, but equally important is to challenge ourselves to new perspectives and ideas. It is only by trying new roads that we can grow our skills and knowledge.

    Thanks as always for your wonderful insights!

  5. Wonderful post, Terri! It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut especially when you’ve been doing something “forever.” For me, it’s a combination of those things happening all at once. It’s brainstorming with a commitment to the risk of an unknown path. Brainstorming is great but if you’re only going to fall back on the tried and true…

    Even in my business now I find that I have lots of new ideas but need to remember that thinking about them isn’t the same as doing them. What I learn from heading down a new path and feeling off balance is to have fun again. There’s no more going through the motions but instead moving forward with heightened awareness and purpose.

    Will share!

    Alli

  6. It is so easy to get caught up in a rut and never venture off the hamster wheel. When leaders are ready to use fresh eyes they may need to step out in only one or two areas at first. Changing everything up at once usually makes no sense and simply overwhelms us.

    Your point about taking action is important too. We often allow the new brainstorming ideas to stay locked inside of us because it may seem too challenging to set them into motion. To that I say, just take some small action. One action always leads to another and truly propels us forward.

    Thanks Alli for your helpful additions to this conversation!

  7. Welcome back!! I love the freshness that usually follows some time away.

    Airplanes – even on business trips have always been some of my best thinking time.

    I’m glad you mentioned brainstorming, several years ago I had lunch with a woman that I did not know well, just to talk about a board we were on and strategize. We had so much fun brainstorming that we met again. In our second meeting she said that when we spent time together she felt like a little kid that had spent hours playing. And the coolest part? …We were incredibly productive!

  8. Thanks Chery! We had a great adventure and look forward to our next! I agree that when we are on airplanes closed off to the rest of the world, it is a perfect opportunity to dream and plan.

    Brainstorming not only brings out extraordinary ideas and solutions but as you suggest, it can grow relationships as well as empower us to think more clearly. And yes it can be such fun! Thanks for sharing your wonderful story!

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