What would it look like if your team was motivated to succeed?
If your leadership empowered and inspired others to shine?
If you could use your vision as a leader to connect people?
How do you do it? Lead with intention.
As Leaders, We Must Be Aware of Our Intentions
“Intention is the engine that drives motivated employees, and leaders must remain aware of the intentions they carry into the office with their thoughts, actions and responses.”
Intention is a powerful word – and it’s even more influential when we infuse what it means into how we lead others. By definition, intention is:
- a determination to act in a certain way : resolve
- what one intends to do or bring about
In leadership and in life, intentions involve the heart and are therefore deeply rooted. Intentions are all about the process, your process – the “why” in your life, your way of living.
When we focus on our intentions, we’re keeping true to ourselves, our inner values, who we are at our core. It’s all about being present now – unlike goals that are something in the future.
Intentions keep you true to your Self and to your strongest yearnings.
Knowing this, it’s easy to see how critical setting (and being aware of) our intentions are in leadership.
Bringing Intention into the Workplace
When we allow our intentions to guide the way we lead our team, some substantial benefits happen as a result:
- Employees are empowered as a greater sense of trust is established.
- Overall work culture is enhanced as people feel a deeper purpose.
- Individual team members are also encouraged to develop to their full potential.
Seen from a bigger vantage point, these benefits come together to transform an organization, allowing it to establish a greater impact in the products and services it offers as well as the wider social impact it has.
Instead of seeing work as “just a paycheck” to pay the bills, intentions empower us to inspire our teams to find deeper meaning and purpose in their work life.
Intentions keep us connected to our inner core. They help us be more present in all that we do – and to bring our authenticity into every situation.
Lead With Intention to Motivate Your Team
Need a few pointers to lead with intention? Try these:
1- Consider the impact of your words. I’ve spoken a lot about the role of body language in leadership, but words are also important. For instance, you might replace “I” statements with ones that start with “We” instead.
2- Think acceptance, not authority. An impactful leader knows it’s not about “my way or the highway” authoritativeness. Rather, emphasize tolerance and acceptance; be open to new, innovative ideas.
3- Start the conversation about intention. It’s not all about getting everyone on board with your vision and yours alone – encourage employees to share their own unique visions and goals.
4- Set your intention beforehand. Ready to walk into your next meeting? Providing employee feedback? Set your intentions first – a practice that can guide you to stay present and grounded.
5- Define your leadership vision. It’s hard to lead others with intention without a clear image of your own vision. Follow the tips in this HBR article to develop your own captivating image of an achievable future.
BOLD BONUS TIP: What’s one of the activities that takes up a lot of your time but often produces few measurable results? If you answered “meetings,” you’re not alone.
Optimize productivity by setting an intention to limit meetings to 20% of your time for the day or week. Why? “This creates a healthy balance for the creation of important work while remaining mindful and respectful of each professional’s time,” explains Forbes.com author William Craig.
Intentions Keep Us Grounded
From my own experience as a leader, my intentions keep me grounded. They serve as little prompts to check in with myself, to make sure I’m being kind to myself and to those in my life. They gently nudge me to ask the right questions when it feels like something has gone off track.
More than anything, intentions remind me that life is a journey, and that I’ll enjoy the ride by keeping true to myself. And if I’m not true to myself…if I am not loving the work that I do…why should anyone follow me?
Now, let us all boldly go forward and set our intentions for this day!
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Colleen Slaughter Raue, Managing Partner of Authentic Leadership International
Colleen is a transformational leadership coach who guides international leaders as they attain the clarity, courage and self-confidence necessary to realize higher levels of productivity and fulfillment in both their personal and professional lives.
Her purpose is to facilitate her clients’ transformation from limiting beliefs and self-doubts into a deeper, more powerful knowingness of how much they – and what they envision for themselves – truly matter.
Colleen’s perspectives were recently featured in an article on the International Coach Federation’s website here.