The Blindspot of Intent: A Leader’s Focus on Their Impact
Imagine dedicating your time and energy to creating something that could benefit those around you, only to witness it falter or fail to achieve the intended impact. Lately, this has been a common point of discussion and challenge within leadership teams that we have worked with. Even with the best of intentions, a leader’s words and actions can, sometimes, miss the mark and/or be misinterpreted. Below are some common themes around why leaders struggle to make the impact that they intend to.
Common Challenges to Creating the Impact you Want
- Lack of Self-Awareness – Leaders who do not make time for self-reflection, may fail to fully see a need for growth or recognize their biases and/or weaknesses. Lacking self-awareness, can hinder a leader’s ability to see a need for their own personal development and can diminish their capacity to evolve, adjust to new situations and make the impact that they desire.
- Unclear Goals and Strategy – If goals and strategies are not clearly defined, initiatives can fall flat. Setting and communicating clear goals and a strategy for reaching those goals, can help to guide, align and motivate your team to work toward a common purpose and a shared vision. Clearly define what you want to achieve and how you plan to make it happen.
- Overreliance on Formal Authority – While formal authority is necessary, it does not necessarily translate to genuine buy-in. Leaders must nurture trust and interpersonal connections, to build an environment where people understand the purpose of their work and are passionate about achieving the goals in front of them.
- Ineffective Communication – Effective communication is the cornerstone for building strong relationships and conveying the vision and values of the organization. Leaders may not invest enough into honing the communications skills that are vital for clarity, persuasion and empathy. A lack of care in messaging can negatively shape how the message is received.
- Failure to Solicit Feedback – Seeking diverse opinions provides invaluable insight. Without it, leaders can, often, misjudge how their decisions land. Collaboration, transparency and openness are essential for fostering an environment where feedback is not only welcomed but actively sought out. This practice can lead to more informed and effective decision-making and increases the chances that your actions will make the desired impact.
- Resistant to Change – While facing resistance from others is common, leaders must acknowledge that they, themselves, can also impede progress, at times. If you aren’t open to new ideas or are resistant to change, you may become a roadblock for the people around you. Learning to be flexible and adaptable, is essential for leaders. Being open to new ideas and embracing change, even if it challenges existing norms or isn’t aligned with your original plan of execution, sets a good example for others and can help to improve your chances of successfully achieving your goals.
Create the Impact you Want
When a leader’s impact aligns with their intent, it can demonstrate authenticity and set the tone for the whole organization, while effectively fostering a foundation that is built on trust. To begin making the impact that you envision, you must, first, take ownership of how your communication and actions are received and be open to learning from any missteps. Creating an environment where your team feels comfortable enough to provide you with consistent feedback, allows for self-reflection and a chance to proactively tweak how you communicate to better match your intent.
Leadership is an ongoing journey. Regularly assessing your impact and continuing to learn and develop should be high priorities for any leader. This takes empathy, self-awareness and a willingness to listen, learn and adjust. No one gets it perfectly right out the gate. We all have room for growth when it comes to leading effectively and creating alignment between intent and impact. Just keep at it!
If you would like to learn more about the leadership development options that The Utech Group has to offer, connect with us today! With over 30 years of experience, we’ve worked with all levels of leadership and have helped hundreds of organizations, throughout the USA and Canada, unlock their true potential.