Intent vs Impact. 5 Ways to Match Your Intent with Your Desired Impact

Have you ever received feedback that meant something to you?  Feedback that was constructive? Feedback that has changed your approach and made you a better person?

Recently, we completed a leadership development workshop with a client and his direct reports.  We used a powerful 360 assessment tool called Leadership Impact.  Each participperformance reviewant received feedback on their leadership effectiveness with a set of recommended strategies that would make them better leaders. Some were quite surprised by the feedback, some were not.  All were very appreciative of the opportunity to pause and think about how they are viewed by their peers, their bosses and their direct reports.

In my experience, most leaders generally have good intentions.  They want to grow their business, develop their people, build a team and achieve higher margins.  How leaders behave, the actions they take, what they say or do makes a difference on the impact that they want to have. This impact may or may not reflect their positive intentions.

How can you ensure that your intention matches your impact?

1. Be very clear about your intent.  What is it exactly that you want to achieve?  Is it to motivate others to do better? Build stronger relationships? Defend your points?

2. How are you going to communicate your intent?  Are you going to send an email, pick up the phone or wait until you have a face to face meeting?  The more important the issue, the more real-time conversation you will want to have.

3. What message will match your intent?  If your intent is to motivate, you may want to use more encouraging language vs criticizing or nitpicking.  According to the research of Heaphy and Losada 2004, (The Role of Positivity & Connectivity in the Performance of Business Teams)  high performing teams provide positive feedback to each other in the ratio of 5.6 to 1 whereas low performing teams have an average of .36 to 1 with almost 3 negative comments to 1 positive comment with each other.

4. Deliver the message and ask for feedback.  Did your message reflect your intention?  In the example of motivating others, ask the recipient how your message was received.  Was it motivational or discouraging?  Ask how you could have better delivered your message.  Ask how the person felt after your conversation.

5. Practice.  Over time you will be more versed on how to match your intent and your impact.  Yes, there is a place for negative feedback, usually when one is in a downward spiral or about to hurt themselves.  Such conversations have an appropriate place and time.

Are you interested in learning about your impact on others?  Ever wondered why you are not achieving the results that you want or perhaps are unable to sustain high performance?  A trained peer coach or external executive coach can help interpret your assessment and help you change your leadership strategy to take your game to the next level.

 

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