A Leadership Intention
Lousy leaders are busy but don’t know what they are doing. Successful leaders live intentionally.
How do you want others to feel when they are around you?
- Like you are smart or like they are smart?
- Like they have great ideas or like you have great ideas?
- Like they are stars or like you are a star?
One of the best things leaders do is bring out the best in others. Bringing out the best in others includes:
- Instilling confidence by expressing gratitude.
- Understanding motivations and skills.
- Supporting career goals. Get on their team.
- Showing respect.
- Asking questions.
- Listening well.
- Setting high expectations.
- Confronting mediocrity.
- Extending connections.
- Providing training.
Not long ago, Mike Henry wisely said to me, “It’s amazing how smart others will think you are if you make them feel smart.” I suppose his statement could sound manipulative but I don’t think it was. I think he wants the best from those around him and when he gets it, they think he’s the best.
Have you decided to make others feel like they are talented, smart, valuable, or…?
Yesterday, during conversations, I noticed again that my passion does something I don’t want it to do. It shuts others down. It makes it difficult for others to disagree. When my volume goes up the participation of others goes down. On the other hand, speaking calmly and briefly, allows others to open up and feel valued.
Choose how you want to make others feel when they are around you and then to act accordingly.
How do you want others to feel around you?
What blocks your intention?
What are you doing to achieve your intention?
What great questions, Dan. I am particularly struck by the ‘surprising hindrance’ you refer to. This occurred for me this week when I spoke at a university. I was so passionate about my message to the students and as I began to pick up some seeming skepticism, I got more enthusiastic! Oh dear! That doesn’t work very well.
This doesn’t answer the question directly but thank you for this forum to share my experience. I will be interested to hear from others.
Thanks for sharing your own illustration of the down side of too much passion. I think during a speech, expression heart felt passion is great. However, it’s the conversational side, the Q&A where it may be better to tone it down. I fear once I get going I’m like an avalanche.
Best to you,
Great reminder. It’s like that Maya Angelou quote, “People will forget what you say, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Love seeing you here and thanks for the quote!
Best to you,
PS I’m looking forward to reviewing Strategic Speed. Thank you for having it sent.
Excellent, looking forward to your thoughts Dan
It’s great to start the morning with the words of TWO wise men. Thanks to you Dan and to Mike also. As to intentions, I try to follow what I once heard Tony Allessandra call the Platinum Rule. He said,
“as children we we were taught the Golden Rule of treating others as we want to be treated. The Platinum Rule is to treat others as THEY want to be treated.”
This sounds simple but it can actually be quite chalenging. It requires asking questions, listening to what is said, observing what is not, plus acting on what you have learned throughout the process. For me, it is a helpful reminder. I can’t say that I am always a shining example of keeping this intention, but I find that when I do, WE get better outcomes.
Happy Friday to all,
The Platinum Rule certainly takes this conversation to a new level. I’ll be interacting with lots of new people today. I’m going to try and practice it.
Thanks for raising the bar,
Thank YOU Dan.
Have fun interacting with all those new people today and have a great weekend.
Dan – great self-awareness to notice how passion can shut others down. We risk becoming steamrollers when our passion is in charge. The challenge is to maintain that passion, but balance it with openness and awareness of others. As always, a learning opportunity: if they don’t share the excitement, why not? How might they be right?
Dan, your question this morning brings up an interesting plight for me. It’s in my nature to seek to essentially help others – in a word – be comfortable. That word acts as a large umbrella which includes confidence, being listened to, a sense of direction, etc.. There’s a lot to what helps others to feel comfortable, especially in a leadership position. And I seem to have a natural sense of most people’s comfort levels and to mirror what they need to improve their comfort. Usually, I’m very good at it. Enough to be asked to step into arenas that are not my usual environment because it’s hoped that I can make a difference and in cases where people aren’t seeing eye to eye. Part of that is because I’m at ease.
However, on the other side of the coin, I can immediately sense when folks become increasingly uncomfortable in my presence. The more uncomfortable they become, the more uncomfortable I become and then it’s a cycle in the opposite direction of uneasiness all around. It’s one thing that I have not figured out how to fix/master yet when it happens, other than to disengage and try to come back at another time. And that doesn’t always work, nor is always possible. It just seems in these less common cases, that the more effort I make to help someone feel more comfortable, the worse off we are.
Admittedly, I become concerned as to why, even knowing that often people are uncomfortable for a variety of reasons that do not have to do with me or even our project, etc.. It’s offsetting for sure. In these cases, I’m not sure my passion has anything to do with it, unless it’s my focus on wanting to dispel the discomfort. I mean, how does someone become uncomfortable with being listened to? But it has happened. Either way, the discomfort seems to create a wall.
I’m open to insight from others on this one.
I’m also curious about how others handle it when they catch themselves getting too passionate and dampening the enthusiasm and participation of others around them. How do you segue out of it in the moment? How do you reboot or salvage the intent?
I congratulate you for this useful subject.
All our actions have an impact on others. If we respect people and we are willing to grow as a team and to make valuable work, each one of us must act carefully and to adapt to each situation appeared. We must discover ourselves and influence people positively always (even acting negatively in a good way or tough sometimes- the result of that action must be positively-meaning developing).
Hi Dan, another great set of questions. How do I want others to feel around me? I want others to feel comfortable, at ease, trusting, caring and sharing freely. That is a tall order and one that takes time to accomplish. I always sense the rigidity and temerity whenever I meet some one who is either new or not in my work environment. I abhor titles and find them superflous and often stifling for creating a connected and calm bi-directional dialogue. I always introduce my self as Al Diaz and NEVER DR. Diaz which I find automatically brings the tension in the room down several notches. I also try to arrange meetings using round tables so there is no “perceived person in charge” sitting at the head. That will also create comfort and allow the free flow of ideas. I may bring the agenda but I try not to run the meeting usually act more like a moderator and always listening. When I answer my phone my script is always ” This is Al Diaz, How can I help you?” Do I always get all of these things right; of course not. There are plenty of times when as mentioned earlier passion gets the best of me and what should be a normal conversation ends up being an impassioned speech from the pulpit. Fortunately I don’t fall into that hole two often but more than once I have called folks after a meeting to apologize for monopolizing the discussion and not being more democratic with the time alloted. What am I pro-actively doing to avoid the “passion diatribe?” I have developed a mental check list reminding myself of the purpose for the meeting, have a clear understanding who will be attending, what needs to be accomplished and are there agenda “items” which are on my “passion” priority list which I need to careful about. Dan it is a work in progress and I know down the road I will occasionally have to make those apology phone calls. Regards, Al
I want others around to feel respected, identified and recognised. Leader has to remember them by name. This bonds relation between others and leader. When you make them to feel good human, respected citizen, they will treat back in same fashion. When you do good to others with right intentions, it pays you back many fold. So, treating others with respect actually earns higher interest in return.
Our preconceived notion and stereotype thinking blocks our intention. When leader has minimal preconceived ideas or thinking, he will be in better position to express right intention. So, openness and acceptance with greater enthusiasm open intention. The other factor that blocks intention is fear. More the fear, more the blockage, less the fear, less the blockage.
To achieve my intention, I practice to overcome my adamancy, stubborness and pre conceived ideas etc. I try to peel off layers of ignorance, arrogance and ego. The more I peel off, the more I am open, honest and able to express right intention with hesitation and fear.
I am back…
The last line- the more I peel off, the more I am open, honest and able to express right intention without hesitation and fear.
Giving me yet another pause to think on this Dan…and thanks right upfront for that!
As far as the three questions go…
How do you want others to feel around you?
Depends on the situation and my role. There are times when we need to feel discomfort to initiate change thinking/action. Status quo, good enough, complacency often leads to entropy.
If we are not growing, we are dying… would be one perspective. And at the same time, I would want to convey/endorse respect, being accountable, learning, enjoying vitality, savoring challenges and the moments we share…and all of the other great traits we have identified in past posts.
What blocks your intention? How bout the reverse, identifying what may keep intention flowing.
While I am not sure I necessarily equate volume with passion, I think I see your point. When we truly believe/feel a value, we tend to get more intense, more animated and perhaps more verbal, etc. The nature of intense feelings I suppose, it requires heightened effort to check the flow.
So the leadership challenge is to constantly moderate the passion and perhaps approach it with a ‘less is more’ perspective.
Breathe, listen x2, choose your words very mindfully, make each moment count rather than flood.
While it may be quite cathartic to flood…it then becomes about you and not what you value and definitely not about the person(s) you are interacting with, trying to engage or share a vision/value moment.
Attend to the flow of energy, perhaps, when reaching that heightened moment/awareness more should be coming in that going out. And what goes out needs to be quality and valued. MEMC…make each moment count. No easy task that!
What are you doing to achieve your intention?
Reading LF everyday of course! (what something on my nose???) Semi-seriously, it is a case of staying attuned and aligned and really seeing the opportunities in the moment, cause they are there and gone before you know it.
Heartfelt thanks Dan!
Hello again to all 🙂
Sorry Dan to say one thing more. I don’t see the purpose of these questions.?? Can you explain more to us?
How do you want others to feel when they are around you?
– to feel as they are
Like you are smart or like they are smart?
-when I am smart – I am smart, and sometimes they are smarter then me, I learn from them and them from me 🙂
Like they have great ideas or like you have great ideas?
-Sometimes we all together have GREAT ideas (if we claim that we are a TEAM)
Like they are stars or like you are a star?
-What is a star? Can someone explain to me :).
All the best to all 🙂
I apologize for that expression of thoughts, but this is an internet platform with great leaders like you are all.
It is obvious that all that we do, we try to do with this result like Dan says:
“One of the best things leaders do is bring out the best in others. Bringing out the best includes instilling confidence by expressing gratitude, showing respect, asking questions, and listening well.”
Simona chill. Precisely what is being addressed is having the freedom to speak up and articulate your thoughts. I for one liked your comments..let the conversation continue. Regards Al
I think what you said about passion inadvertently shutting others down is good “food for thought.” It is one thing when you are sharing your passion with a peer (i.e., on a sports team, etc.,) but when you are a supervisor perhaps the topic has to be approached differently. You don’t want the other person to feel they HAVE to respond in kind, but you DO want them to discover the passion (let’s say for your organizational vision) in a way that they feel invested in. In that case, I suppose your job would be to facilitate that.
One way to establish an effective relationship with another person is to take the time to experience that individual in several different venues/situations. It is easy to jump to conclusions (and then have a specific set of intentions) based on one scenario that may not have truly reflected everything that individual is about.
Great blog as always. My video blog (posted today) would have been a perfect link to this post. You are an incredibly simple, with profound results. Thanks for your consistency and content.
I notice you did’t leave the link you mention. Thought I would add it here. http://pastortom2022.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/audio-post-6/
All the best,
Thank you Al for supporting.
Thanks for the quote and the way you represented it. I was actually surprised to learn that. It was a blessing to me to be able to make friends with so many people through social media just by appreciating them.
I enjoy people. The Internet has given me a great opportunity to “meet” a lot of really cool people with a common interest in leadership and making a positive difference. I’m glad we met. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Thanks brother, Mike…
My initial thoughts when I read this blog were a cross between “well, it’s a no brainer” and “what a thought-provoking topic!”
Re no-brainer: in order for a leader to lead he/she needs to have followers, and to get followers they need to inspire, listen, lead by example, gain respect, etc. …..and of course bring out the best in others so they feel valued, confident and have an important part to play in the business/organization.
Re thought-provoking topic: I hadn’t thought in much depth about the impact my passion has on others. People have said; “you’re so passionate about that; you really light up when you talk about …….” But I can understand how over-doing it can reduce a person’s desire to engage further with me in this type of interaction. I guess it’s about balance and knowing when to put the reins on! Perhaps there’s a way to bring the listener into the passion through questions, which give more of the focus back to them. As to which questions…. I’ll need to give that further thought!! Any ideas??
I enjoyed reading the other comments here too….
Julia – regarding the question you raised: “How does someone become uncomfortable with being listened to?” I think this might be to do with confidence, and I’m only guessing here, as I’m not sure of the circumstances you are in when this happens. I am wondering whether the person is feeling uncomfortable because the attention is on them, when they’d rather exist happily in the background (due to a low level of confidence)? On the other hand, it might be to do with what they are talking about. Is it an uncomfortable topic? Are the questions challenging/taking them too far out of their comfort zone?
Al – I liked your comment about reminding yourself of the purpose of the meeting. It reminded me of delivering training recently, and thinking about what I ‘needed’ to deliver, compared with interesting points that were coming out in the discussion. I was having a conversation (more of a battle, really!) in my head with how to proceed next.
Doc – Great statement: “make each moment count rather than flood”! Provides me with the answer to my conversation dilemma mentioned above!
Thanks Dan, for a great topic! Keep ’em coming!!
I’m so glad you left your comment here. Additionally, it’s great to see you interacting with other contributors. One of my great pleasures is seeing conversations blossom.
RE: No brainer/thought provoking. One of my intentions is to offer up a daily leadership idea in a clear, concise manner. Frequently my posts are nothing innovative. I’m just thinking and rethinking thoughts and learning to apply leadership ideas to my own life and then sharing with the LF community. When other interact it enriches me personally and it enriches the conversation that others frequently enjoy.
All the best,
I have found the same “When volume goes up, participation goes down”.
I developed an internal approach I call ‘listen to the point of permission’ Which means I listen to someone completely, fully, without taking my turn.
After that if they give me permission to speak by asking a question, then I find I have their attention, interest and participation.
Until that time my passion, advice and suggstions stay on the inside.
Congrats on “listening to the point of permission” thats a great expression. I have far to go to get to that skill but now I have a statement on which to hang an ideal behavior.
Challenging and well said,
Dan – Great insight. In addition to asking how we want others to feel, we can achieve even more by setting an intention about how WE want to feel – respectful, open, responsive….. setting intentions for ourselves is even more powerful than setting them for others.
I’ve been studying intention in the business context for a while now. While it’s a powerful skill, I don’t think there’s a lot of discipline around HOW to use intention – especially for leaders. For this reason I’ve started writing about just that, digging into the “how” of intention-setting in a leadership context. I’ve written about it here http://reclaimingleadership.com/get-rid-of-task-lists-set-intentions/ and would love your insights.