Is something happening in the near future that you’re dreading? Maybe it looks like one of these scenarios:
- You have to give a presentation and you get so nervous speaking in front of people
- You have to give some corrective feedback to a co-worker
- You just found out you have to get a root canal
- You need to get a project done that you’ve been putting off
- You have to have an uncomfortable conversation with your kid
You could probably add to that list. The point is, we all have situations we have to walk through that can cause fear, anxiety, doubt and uncertainty.
I’d like to give these types of situations a new name. I call them: leadership moments.
Leadership moments are circumstances that don’t come easy for us. They’re situations where we don’t feel comfortable. They cause emotions to rise up in us. They stretch us. They require leadership.
As I’m in the process of starting Lifelong Leaders, I’m committing myself to three important mindsets:
- be intentional
- be brave
- be your best self
Each mindset is a work in progress. I’m learning and growing in each one. I want them to be a part of the story I tell when leadership moments come my way. For this article, I want to unpack what it means to be intentional.
Silvia Hartman says, “Intention moves energy.” This means, we give energy to what and where we focus our intention. We get to decide where we want to spend our energy.
Let’s walk through one of the situations (leadership moments) from above – you have to give some corrective feedback to a co-worker. For most of us, this is an uncomfortable task. So before the situation even takes place, we focus a lot of energy thinking about how the other person will react and what we will say and what could go wrong and all of the rabbit trails. By the time we get to the leadership moment (giving the feedback), we’re full of anxiety. It may or may not turn out okay. But we aren’t leading the situation, we’re riding it out and hoping for the best. This is called focusing on the reaction.
Leadership moments call for leadership. They are moments where we must be intentional. This requires a change in focus. It means looking at the situation and deciding how we want it to turn out. We set our intention with a positive outlook. We put our energy into creating the best result. This is called focusing on the results.
The only way to focus on the results is to be intentional about how we want things to end up after the leadership moment. You create a picture of what it will look like. You think about it, prepare for it and plan on it. That moves your energy from the worry of reactions to the accomplishment of results. That’s a much better use of one’s energy.
Think about the leadership moment of giving corrective feedback again. Let’s say you focus your intention, for example, on the following three results:
- A better understanding of the situation
- A positive change in behavior
- A growing relationship between all involved
Those are admirable intentions. When you enter your leadership moment with those intentions, it should energize the process. Even if the person reacts in a negative way, you continue to work toward your intentions. Because this is what leaders do. This is how you lead during your leadership moment.
Of course, there are those who might enter their leadership moment with less than admirable intentions, but that doesn’t fall in line with being your best self and it certainly isn’t brave.
Put it into practice
Now, go back to the opening question. What are you dreading? This is your leadership moment. Don’t focus on the reactions (yours or others). Be intentional and focus on the results. Bring your best self to the situation and be brave.
Can you do that?
Want to know how to be intentional over the next 90 days? Download my book, 90 Day Decision for free.
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