refresh leadershipTake a deep breath. Refreshed.

Pop in a mint. Refreshed.

Snooze for 10 minutes. Refreshed.

Short activities can jolt us awake again, leaving us with a sense of being refreshed. Through the years, Thin Difference has been refreshed. Last week, we modernized the look and simplified the navigation. The reality is Thin Difference has been refreshed several times. More focus on the next generation of leaders, more voices from different generations, and greater depth on relevant topics through papers and now a book, Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders.

The common thread through it all? Growth. Personal growth for individuals (me). Community growth for all (we).

Refreshing leadership is about growth, always honing our leadership craft. Developing these refreshing practices is not easy though. Time is a factor and, most of all, mindset is a factor. However, leaders cannot afford to not refresh their leadership practices. The better way to say this is: Your team and organization cannot afford stale leadership. (tweet to share)

Refreshing your leadership practices is your responsibility as a leader.

5 Ways to Refresh Your Leadership Mind and Practices

Outlined below are some ways to refresh your leadership ways. Add in your thoughts and experiences in the comment section but here are some practical ways to get started.

1 – Give yourself space. Time needs to be blocked out to read, watch, and learn. After reading, watching, and learning, take the time to think. Breathe in what is absorbed and think about what you can or should do differently. Without the space to think, nothing will really change.

After your course of action is thought through, give yourself some practice space. Begin to apply the new leadership thoughts. Give yourself space to adopt new habits or apply old principles in new ways.

2 – Give others space. Giving others space empowers current and future leaders. Just as you need space to learn and lead differently, others do too. When a leader crowds another’s space, they are taking away an opportunity for a leader to develop. Doing this will lower the standard of leadership now and in the future.

However, when you give others space to lead, a double bonus happens. When someone is given space to develop, we can now learn from them as well. We gain two better leaders than before. A multiplier effect happens when we give others space to lead. (tweet to share)

3 – Understand historical context. The past is filled with lessons, if we choose to listen and learn. Although principles like trust, integrity, and honesty never change, how they are applied by different leaders does change.

Similarly, in a company’s youth, there are certain decisions made and many were made with relevant, solid reasons. Looking back sets a stage for how we can move forward.

Respecting the past is important. Learning from the past is crucial. There is a reason why we are here, and there is a reason why we cannot stay here. Understanding both will refresh your leadership in untold ways.

4 – Understand new context. Even though historical context is important, we cannot get stuck in the past. After all, this is what refreshed leadership is all about. Situations change. Circumstances change. Technology changes. Society changes.

The purpose here is not to debate what changes are good or not, but we need to recognize that our context does change. History has shown this. We can either refresh our thinking and application of what we believe or we can get left behind or, worse, leave others behind.

Leading ahead means we take long-lasting principles and apply them in an appropriate way to an every-changing place we live and work.

5 – Open your heart. Talking about heart and leadership may seem like an odd fit but more and more we are seeing the connection. Just ask Susan Steinbrecher. A closed mind can keep us from embracing a better way to solve a problem or adopt a new strategic path. A closed heart can keep us from embracing the human spirit.

Without compassion and understanding, leaders will never rise to the level of making a meaningful difference. Empathy and purpose empower change leadership. Civil rights is a perfect example of how leaders opened their hearts and changed the injustice being done. This is leadership refreshed.

How can we open our heart? Have a heart is the first step, meaning give often. Whether it is time to mentor or time to build homes, find opportunities to share your gifts, lend an ear, or get your hands dirty to make a difference. Giving is refreshing. Giving opens your heart to be a refreshed leader. (tweet to share)

Spend the time. Take the effort. Refresh your leadership practices often. The future requires it of you.

How do you keep refreshed as a leader?