Thank you for listening to the Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! When you are leading a team, you need to make sure that you are clear, concise, and thorough in your communication. Without intentionality, your team will be confused, lack direction, and be slow to achieve results. In this episode, Jeff talks about what it means to be an intentional leader and gives six key things intentional leaders do regularly. Signs you are not being intentional:
The people that you lead are always asking you questions for clarification.
Your team meetings get off track, and you find it challenging to stay on task with your people.
It is hard to have a healthy debate and receive feedback from your subordinates.
By becoming an intentional leader, you will become a more assertive leader, earn the respect of your team, drive results and safeguard employee turnover through higher levels of engagement. What does it mean to be an intentional leader? While intentional leaders must be assertive and decisive, intentional leads must always have a sustained focus on a goal or initiative, one that has purpose and meaning for the organization. Having a routine is not enough because it can lead to simply going through the motions. “Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.” - Thomas Edison 6 Key Habits of Intentional Leaders 1. Communicate your mission.
Talk about the vision and the values of your company every time you have the chance.
Review your core values in staff meetings.
Vision creates a strong sense of purpose and meaning and drives a strong culture.
2. Guard the culture.
Your company’s culture is its reputation. Do people enjoy working for you? Or are they fearful of your leadership style?
If you want to create a good culture, you need to find out what your employees like and dislike about your leadership and your organization as a whole.
You can safeguard your culture by addressing underperforming employees and negative behavior quickly and directly.
3. Give constructive and useful feedback.
Make sure you’re helping people get better and not just leaving a wound.
Intentional leaders offer accountability and discipline in an effort to correct or improve a behavior not just beat somebody down.
Give them ways to correct poor behavior.
When people are exceeding expectations show appreciation for hard work.
Say thank you. Write notes of gratitude.
Take people to lunch when possible to forge meaningful relationships.
Tell them, “Great job!” It takes very little time, and it’s free.
In the hustle and bustle, we as leaders sometimes forget the small things and miss out on opportunities to really connect with our people.
4. Take responsibility for mistakes.
You will earn respect when you admit your failures and find a way to fix the situation.
Being intentional about owning your mistakes will create authenticity and will inspire others to follow you.
5. Stretch your comfort zone.
Playing it too safe can undermine your leadership. However, progress is always made at the hand of innovation.
When leaders chase new ideas and include their team in the process, their team becomes more engaged.
6. Focus on what matters most.
As a leader, you will be stretched and pulled in many directions because you have answers to a lot of the problems.
Stop trying to do everything. Start saying “no” to tasks and projects that other people can handle.
Focus on your high performing activities, the actions that give you the best return for your time.
If you try to do too much, you will burn out, and your team will define you as scattered and disorganized.
Keep the main things, the main things!
7. Be aware of your influence.
Your team members will feed off your emotions and outlook.
People are always using your body language and the words you say to determine how they should feel and act.
Intentional leaders are always aware of their surroundings and understand the impact that their reactions and language have on the environment and the morale of the team.
It's easy to celebrate wins and create a positive environment when everything is going great. However, it is when your organization is tested that your true character will rise up.
Q: What areas of your leadership do you think this principle can apply to? Do you think it is important to be intentional in one area more than others? Why or why not? Q: When was the last time you owned a mistake that you made? How did you correct the situation? Was it hard to be vulnerable and accept responsibility? Why or why not? How do you think that your honesty affected your team? Q: How do you respond to stressful situations? What behaviors do you exhibit that might concern your team members or cause them to react negatively? What could you do to create a more calm response? Application Activities
Make a list of every task you do in one day of your week. Set aside some time the next day to look at that list with fresh eyes. Is there anything that could be delegated to one of your team members? Look for tasks that directly line up with areas your team members oversee or administrative tasks that do not require your direct attention. Create a plan to delegate 10% of what you do and set aside that time in your schedule to think about big picture topics and make strategic plans. If you can delegate more than 10%, do it! If you feel like you cannot delegate 10% of your tasks, have a trusted mentor look over your list and provide feedback. You might need fresh eyes, or you might be delegating well already!
Create your own culture assessment for your organization, if one does not already exist. Make a list of 10-15 statements that you want to be true of your organization. Occasionally, ask your team to give you feedback on those statements by rating them 1-5, with 1 being “completely untrue in our culture” and 5 being “completely true in our culture.” Additionally, create a list of 10-15 things your team members will do if they are in a healthy culture and take note when your team members do those things or avoid doing those things consistently.
Take a moment to dream. What do you want your position or your company to look like in 5 years? What will it take to get there? Take the time to really stretch your thinking and challenge yourself to think beyond any limitations you normally put on your dreams.
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