The 7 Layers of Intentional Leadership
When you’re intentional about stepping up and leading, no matter what your role. Your performance and output changes. You bring a higher level of clarity and focus to the choices and actions that you are making. The way you communicate changes and so does the way you interact with other people.
Imagine what more you could achieve, enjoy and also give back if you tapped even further into intention. Below I’ve listed the 7 layers (as opposed to levels) to intentional leadership. They don’t depend on each other – they certainly do work better in concert with each other than on their own in isolation. Think of them as the ultimate cheesecake or trifle of leadership!
Listen more and talk less. Always intend to be the last person to speak. Be curious instead about what motivates your team, your peers as well as your colleagues. Holding space and being present enables you to build deeper connections with people around you, this in turn builds trust, increased performance and better outcomes for everyone, including the bottom line. Leave your judgement at the door and open your ears, mind and heart.
Prioritise self-awareness. This is one of THE most crucial elements of intention. If you don’t know yourself, your triggers, your strengths, values, blind-spots and what bring you calm and joy, you will struggle with leading yourself and others. Leading yourself first and foremost is the basis for inspiring long term, intentional leadership.
Prioritise self-care. This my friend may sound counter intuitive but self-care is leadership. Taking time out to refresh your thoughts, your approach to a solution and to simply reconnect with yourself and your loved ones probably has more impact than any other action you can take as a leader. There are a couple of things that will happen as a result of you intentionally practicing self-care: as you model it for your team and colleagues around you, they will also begin to practice self-care; a culture of mindfulness and presence will begin to emerge; productivity and focus will improve; relationships and communication will improve. A single intentional act of self-care which could be a simple as a 15 minute walk away from your desk at lunch time – can make a difference.
Find a coach or mentor. This is a big one for some people and I get why it is. I’ve been fortunate enough to always have a mentor, someone that I admire greatly either in my professional or personal life (sometimes both) guiding me to where I want to be. Mentors encourage you to step the hell up, connect with your purpose (because it’s not about you) and get out of your own way. These are the people that see your potential and open your eyes to your blind-spots. Mentors have been where you are and they are ready to guide you out of the weeds. Coach’s will give your strategies and techniques to grow your performance and reach the next level. They are objective and invested in your growth – and take no BS. Invest in a mentor or a coach.
Be a visionary. A leader with intention has a clear vision for their future. They understand and connect with who it is they need to be in order to fulfil that vision. And that is what makes them different. Often when we see or imagine something that we want, we feel that until we have it, we can’t be that person (ie the achievement validates you) intentional leaders flip it. They become the person they see at the end of their rainbow in order to get what it is they want to have. Always have a vision and more importantly – always have an intention behind it to keep you in alignment.
Ask for feedback. Intentional leaders know that feedback is what is going to get them the cut through they need. Being specific with what you want feedback on with your Square Squad (link to blog post 2) can provide a whole new perspective and a deeper level of self-knowledge and acceptance. The inspirational leaders of our time are those with deep knowledge of themselves. Grace, presence and clarity are all a result of self-knowledge, self-leadership and intention combined.
Connect with your values. Whether you’re aware of it or not, your values are behind most of your decisions and your actions on daily basis. Truly connecting with them and understanding their influence will have a significant impact and result on your intentions. Your values are not something that you pick off a list and feel at a conscious level ‘yes this is me’ your values are shaped in childhood through to early adulthood. I would highly recommend investing in a session with an NLP Practioner to determine your values – both your toward values (those that motivate you) and your away from (those that you avoid). Values are like the spine to self-awareness and relationship with others. Take some time to understand the structure they give to your life choices.
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