“The more intentional you are about your leadership growth, the greater your potential to become the leader you’re capable of being. Never stop learning” ~ John C Maxwell
What is your intent as a leader? Is it to be respected or to build trust?
As we start to get back into things after the break, it can be beneficial to take a pause and reflect on our leadership and what we are striving to achieve. Many of us have good intentions. It might be to be a better leader, a better friend, buy a new car, change a career or contribute more to your community. Things don’t just happen because we think it or even hope it. Success comes to those who take purposeful action.
As leaders, it’s important that we are taking purposeful action towards what we want to achieve. There is no point in simply talking about something, talk is cheap. Action is where the results are and this starts with us. When we understand our own intent and lead that purposefully, then we can lead our team and our outcomes. It can’t be the other way around.
No doubt throughout your own career you experienced people who had great intentions but no follow through. It can be incredibly frustrating. I had a leader in my early corporate days that had some great ideas and spoke really passionately about how these were going to improve the business for the people working for it. We were excited and couldn’t wait for this to come to fruition. We waited and we waited but nothing seemed to change. At a meeting we had after the grand announcement, a team member asked when we could expect to see these ideas start happening and if we could do anything to help to speed things up. The response was quite deflating for us; there hadn’t been the time to get onto these ideas. In other words, there was no intent to bring them to fruition. Needless to say, the ideas were never implemented!
One of the main reasons a leader doesn’t show intentionality is because they are pressed for time. This is a reality with the demands on a leaders time varied and extensive. However, we’re all pressed for time and time is one of the biggest excuses used in business to avoid commitments and being intentional. It’s also one of the main reasons why your intentions remain a thought or idea. Time is a poor excuse.
People are looking for intentional leaders today to lead them towards a goal, to lead them through change, to have a real intent for the leadership and the outcomes they are trying to achieve. A leader who is not intentional risks disengagement, apathy, and loss of productivity and a huge loss of momentum.
So what are the characteristics of intentional leaders?
They are clear about their leadership – they understand the impact they want to make and how they want to make it. They understand their core values and live true to them.
They take action – intentional leaders do what they say they are going to do. No ‘ifs’, ‘buts’, ‘maybes’, or excuses, they execute.
They take responsibility – not just when times are good. But when times are tough also and most importantly when things are going wrong. They take responsibility for mistakes and take responsibility for their actions. They do not blame their team.
They treat everyone with respect – no matter what level they are. They demonstrate empathy and listen. They also understand the need to act rather than react. No one wants to work for a leader that flies off the handle and says the first thing that comes into his or her mind!
They are aware of their influence – they know how they are being will have a direct influence on the culture and their people. In tough times, if they demonstrate optimism and confidence, people will feed off that. Conversely, if they demonstrate nervousness or fear, the team will feed off that also. Naturally the results will be very different. Also on this point, leaders can have influence simply because they have a title, leaders need to be very conscious of this and be mindful of what they are doing and communicating as people can often take their leaders very literally.
Leadership doesn’t just happen with the blink of an eye. Leadership happens when you take intentional steps that push you and your team to achieve beyond what they are achieving currently. Know where you want to take your business, know how you want to be as a leader and the impact you want to make, and keep going. That’s intentional leadership