Leadership Is About Impact Not Intention
Throw Your Good Intentions Out With The Trash And Focus On Your Impact
I became interested in emotional intelligence because I wanted to understand how I could be more effective at creating positive relationships for better results in my business and personal life. I wanted to be more aware of the ways I was sabotaging my own success and why my good intentions didn’t always have my desired impact. I was proud of the fact that I was goal oriented and really good at getting stuff done. However, I rarely got it all done, all by myself. We need teams, at school, at work, in our families, and in our communities.
Teams exist to produce results. The most successful teams are able to produce results again and again. In order for productivity to be sustainable, there has to be a positive environment, or climate. Dr. John Gottman researched the dynamic of what makes sustainable relationships work – romantic or business. The most effective relationships contribute positivity more than negativity by 5 to 1.
Despite considerable evidence of the benefits, contributing positivity is still a problem with most organizations today. I know many well-meaning leaders who have intentions to contribute and foster positivity. Yet, how many of us continue to have an impact we do not intend? We expect a certain outcome from a decision, action or conversation but we seem to trip over ourselves again and again? I have been married for over 30 years and executive for over 25 years. In that time I noticed recurring behavior patterns in myself and others I worked with that were getting in our way. I noticed that my need to be in control was not as empowering as needed for my employees, wife and children. My personality traits caused me to yield to triggers in certain circumstances and I would become defensive.
When I was fist married, my lovely wife offered to iron my shirts. I gave her negative feedback about her efforts. The impact was that I ironed my shirts for the last 30 years. Five years ago she offered to do it again, but because we have created a habit – I just do it. I realized that despite my good intentions, my behavioral tendencies developed over a lifetime where difficult to change. At some point in my years of marriage and work relationships, my intentions stopped mattering. People do not pay attention to my intentions. They pay attention to my impact, how I make them feel, how I inspire, engage or motivate them. Ultimately each of us is individually responsible for the results we have in our businesses and relationships. If our results are not good, if our teams are not engaged and performing, whom can we blame? As leaders, we have to take personal responsibility for our personal results and our team results.
Maintaining positivity becomes problematic when you are under pressure and dealing with challenging situations. In the next several weeks, it is probable that you will experience pressure and frustration. When that happens, your good intentions take a back seat to your habits. Think of the benefits to you to be able to change your patterned responses to achieve better results. If, like me, you want to become the leader your team wants to follow and the person or parent your family loves to be with – START TODAY. If you have already started, keep going. Just get a little better today than yesterday. If you have a bad day and your impact does not match your intentions, start again tomorrow. It is worth the effort.
For information on how to improve your impact, like our page at Spencer Horn Solutions, LLC. Spencer Horn is the President of Spencer Horn Solutions, LLC. Other related articles include: Cure For The CEO Disease; How To Create Success From Failure; Increase Your Effectiveness As A Leader With Perception Science; How To Improve Your Leadership Under Pressure; One Reason We Struggle With Emotional Intelligence.