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Intentional Leadership

Updated: Jan 11

​The way we lead is often linked to our life experiences and the stories we’ve created around those experiences. If we look inside, perhaps change the story, we can align our behavior, and lead more intentionally. Using the GRIT ® model (see GRIT ® figure), intentional leadership is when a leader is aligned through integrity, to her truth. When we are clear on our purpose or our meaning in life, our intent is positive and productive, and our actions are focused in the right areas. When we are not clear - or perhaps we just aren’t being mindful - our intent can be coming from a place of confusion or fear, and can be harmful rather than helpful. For example, an executive gets frustrated and lashes out. The intent may be to punish or maybe to get even. But if this executive keeps mindful of his purpose, for example to help people develop and grow, then the frustration will serve as awareness and he will stop and align to his truth. He will choose the appropriate actions that will help the person change, rather than react in a way that creates defensiveness.

In working with a partner at an accounting firm, he shared with me that he prided himself in being completely honest, direct and telling it like it is. He felt this was the only way to be, and in fact, he showed how it traced to truth and integrity in the GRIT ® model. What we discovered through our sessions was that he was forgetting about respect. He didn’t realize that he blurted things out that weren’t even relevant and quite frankly came across as disrespectful. He would also say things to direct reports that were perceived as condescending. He spent most of his time telling people what to do rather than asking and listening. I learned from him that this style was what he grew up with. His dad was exactly like this. By looking at his truth, and then his purpose and intent, he realized he wanted to change the story, and change his behavior. He wanted to be an intentional leader that empowered people to excel, rather than holding them back.


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