How to Refresh Your Leadership Practices

By February 18, 2015Leadership

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?

Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and highlighted as one of the Leaders to Watch in 2015 by the American Management Association. He also is the author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. Jon serves as vice president of marketing at Corepoint Health. Outside of his professional life, Jon brings together a community to inspire Millennial leaders and close the gap between two generations of leaders.
Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz

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Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Hi Jon,
    I echo all previous comments on GREAT new look on your website!
    I especially like points 1 and 2. It’s that “White Space” that we all so desperately need yet compromise on first. I have a friend who’s an executive at a large consulting firm and he incorporated paid “white space” time for his managers. As he termed it, it gave them “time to see around corners,” and to be more proactive instead of perpetually reactive. The time allowed creative juices to flow as people had that time to refresh as you term it. Excellent!
    Great post Jon! ~ Kaylene

    • Jon Mertz says:

      Thank you, Kaylene! Leading by giving “white space” is so essential and a great practice to implement. We need that time to think and be more proactive. Your insights and feedback are greatly appreciate. Thank you! Jon

  • Love the new look of the website Jon!

    And a perfectly timed post – I’ve been working hard to give myself space so you hooked me there. As I read through the rest of your points so many of them resonated as big lessons from my past that I’ve blogged about as well.

    Thank you for the refreshment!

    • Jon Mertz says:

      Thank you, Chery. “Space” is one of my words for the year ahead. Having the space to think, act intentionally, and breath is an important way to refresh. Grateful for your insights… always. Thank you! Jon

  • Alli Polin says:

    First of all… I LOVE the new look and feel of Thin Difference! Second of all… I received my copy of Activate Leadership in the mail today and can’t wait to read it and share it with millennial leaders who I know. Third, I agree that open your heart really has a place in leadership. Even with leadership within the home. When I watch my children play, they do it with abandon. When I begin to demand do this (clean your room NOW) or that (go read a book) it doesn’t inspire them to take action, it doesn’t make our connection stronger, it doesn’t bring respect. It shuts them down and brings in frustration. When I appreciate them for the whimsical, imaginative, inherently good people they are, I change my approach and change the outcome.

    Thanks, Jon!

    • Jon Mertz says:

      A great point, Alli! At times, we want to put structure around what should just be creative fun. Giving people the space and leading with an open heart can be very refreshing… we just need to empower both.

      Thank you so much for your early support of Activate Leadership! I am glad the book arrived. I am so excited about the changes here and ready to begin promoting my book and engaging in more conversations ahead. Your voice and actions are always inspiring to me. I am very grateful for all you do!

      Thank you, Jon

  • Terri Klass says:

    First of all, congratulations Jon on your new book! I can’t wait to read it! Congratulations on your new website design! It is awesome and very easy to navigate and read. Love the modern feel!

    Refreshing our leadership is essential to helping us see new perspectives and different ways to sharing our stories and lessons. I find that I am constantly challenging myself to learn new tools and strategies. I do this through webinars, reading and conferences. As I am a people person, collaborating with others brings me a great deal of rejuvenation and joy.

    Here’s to your new, exciting journey ahead with Thin Difference!


    • Jon Mertz says:

      Thank you, Terri! I am very excited about the refreshing change here and the launch of my book. Writing has been a very renewing experience for me. Learning new tools and strategies is so important and great ways to continue to refresh your leadership practices. Love your ideas and suggestions on how to keep refreshed! Thank you for sharing them. Jon

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