3 Steps When Good Intentions Blow Up

Every leader knows what it’s like to saddle up and ride into a hurricane of personal attack.

Storms are tipping points for success or failure.

The issue isn’t the storm, it’s how you deal with it.

Reputations are formed and solidified in storms.

When good intentions blow up:

You try to serve well and make things better, but things get worse. People doubt your good intentions and complain about your performance.

It stings when people speak evil of the good you’re trying to accomplish.  Complaints go up. Encouragement goes down.

Good intentions aren’t enough.


You’ll be tempted to pull up and turn away when you encounter personal storms. But pulling back in storms is deadly for leaders.

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot when good intentions blow up in your face.

Suppose you’re trying to encourage everyone on the team, but some feel overlooked. Others complain that you’re playing favorites. It stings.

You might isolate yourself. Worse yet, resentment might set in. You pull back from encouraging anyone. You think, “Why bother? You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

Ride into the storm:

Ride into the storm when team members speak evil of your good. Don’t pull up or turn away.

The turbulence you avoid finds you. Don’t let hurt feelings defeat you. 

Step 1: Lean in. “Oh, I’m sorry you feel that way.” Apologize, even if you didn’t intend harm. 

Step 2: Declare good intentions. “I’m committed to encourage people.”  Don’t hide. Don’t make excuses. 

Step 3: Invite involvement. “What suggestions do have that would help me better express my commitment to encourage people?” Invite complainers/attackers to help you make things better.

Detractors and complainers may not help, but let them know that you’re pressing forward.

How might leaders respond when good intentions blow up?