Intentional means to do something purposefully; to do something deliberately. Leadership means giving guidance and direction. I have spent many years in leadership roles, and as I look back at those moments, I think, “What does this say about me?” For me, Intentional Leadership is leading and guiding consciously, and it starts with me. Here are three strategies I use to lead intentionally:
1. I start my day with a considerable dose of mindfulness. I give praise and gratitude for just being here to see, feel, think, and be a part of this great universe. I must be mindful of leading myself and others. Mindfulness can be as simple as — thinking what can I give someone today, how I can make someone’s world a better place to live, or to speak a kind word to make the challenges of the day easier. Just being mindful goes a long way! I want all the negative feelings and thoughts to flow out of my body as I am beginning my new day. If my day is planned with many activities, I often sort through the pages and tabs in my life more efficiently then I can go in with a more carefree spirit.
2. Servant Leadership – This may sound like buzz words; however, they have been around for years—perhaps termed differently. Servant leaders build and enrich the lives of individuals who create a more caring organization and world. Ask, “what have I done to be a better servant leader?” Do I listen to staff? Do I listen –PERIOD? It takes a lot to REALLY listen! How can I serve my staff better is a great question to ask yourself? How can I help them GROW to achieve their fullest potential? Servant leaders apply openness and collaboration, not control. Two key words that come to mind when we discuss servant leadership are BUILD and ENHANCE. Servant leaders are always looking for ways to build, grow and enhance– not tear down. THIS is where I want to be and to stay—in a building mode!
3. Finally, empathy! I know that as an Intentional Leader, I must look at where individuals are in their lives. I need to ask questions that are direct and to the point. If a person seems upset, I need to ask, “What’s going on with you (that is not so intrusive)?” I need to place myself in their shoes and know that STUFF happens and it is not always “small stuff.” You might hear people say, “don’t sweat the small stuff,” but what seems small to you may be monumentally challenging to others—they are sweating the small stuff and possibly, rightly so! Line up your thoughts before you speak empathetically and make it meaningful and mindful. You are now getting ready to be in their shoes.
You are an Intentional Leader!