How to Bridge the Gap that Holds You Back
The way people experience you is often different from the way you intend.
You hoped to hear, “Thanks for the encouragement.” Instead you heard, “You’re pushy.”
It’s self-defeating when good intentions produce negative impact.
Positive intention – negative impact:
- You intend to challenge, but the impact is resistance.
- You intend to enlighten, but the impact is confusion.
- You intend to fuel boldness, but the impact is hostility.
- You intend to connect, but the impact is distance.
- You intend to inspire conversations, but the impact is silence.
The gap between intention and impact is a blindspot.
Aligning impact with intention enhances effectiveness and satisfaction.
Bridge the gap that holds you back:
Feedback exposes the gap between intention and impact.
Things get worse. It’s always surprising – even disorienting – when the good you intend blows up.
A gap between intention and impact results in feeling misunderstood.
Bridge the gap between intention and impact with feedback. Successful leaders seek and explore feedback in order to bring the impact of their behaviors into alignment with good intentions.
Leaders who aspire to do good, but end up doing poorly, need feedback.
Don’t wait to receive feedback. Seek it.
- Declare intentions.
- Seek feedback on the impact of your behaviors.
- Ask for suggestions.
- Adjust and move forward.
I intend to energize people.
Seek feedback on Impact:
What do you see me doing or hear me saying that energizes people?
What do you see me doing that might lower people’s energy?
Ask for suggestions:
What might I do to better energize people?
What might I stop doing that de-energizes people?
Begin the feedback process by declaring an intention, then seek feedback.
Effectiveness goes up when impact matches intentions. How you occur – when you show up – reflects the future of your relationships.
What intentions might leaders declare? “I intend to (intention).”
What questions might be useful after declaring an intention?
Oh! Those blindspots! We have a saying, measure twice, cut once. It’s intended for the technical operations environment, however, can also apply to this Dan. If you’re measuring what you’re saying twice before doing so, the impact may be less on first try of positive intent. Always assume good intentions, that where to start.
Nicely put Dan. I have experienced this quite a few times. Very often missing the desired effect with my questions or comments. However, the problem is in getting feedback. Such situations are not easily replicable for me to seek feedback from people I trust. Any suggestions on that? That said, through self observation and practicing asking the same question in front of a mirror, I have adapted my body language and tone. It is still a work in progress though.
Good point, John – there’s something strange about how the term “feedback” is used in general.
To me, it’s one person “feeding back” to another directly – with no third party.
To many, it’s often either:
* one person harvesting opinions from one person about another – usually for judgement/appraisal purposes, or,
* somebody “feeding up” (complaining) about another person to a manager, with the expectation of some distant action being taken – and usually, specifically to avoid having to feedback directly.
I knew of a boss who tapped employee offices to underhandedly obtain “feedback”. Then he’d use the information in meetings and in correspondence in hurtful ways. So, yes, be brave and ask for feedback honestly. Only cowards use tapping as a means to find out the truth. So sad.
Well said! I’ve also experienced this through the years. It’s especially evident with new site openings and with a new team. During these times, newly hired staff have no trust which leads to misreads and suspicions. The culture isn’t set until consistency and repetition happen. Once the culture is in place, intentions are better read.
Intentions to declare? “I intend to earn trust with all newly hired employees.”
Why don’t you trust me?
What do I say or do that makes you suspicious of me?
To earn your trust, what do you see me doing more of?
What should I stop saying or doing that causes doubt?