It's simple, Effective Leaders have clear intentions.....
What do we already know about effective leadership?
Over one hundred years of research has shown that there are certain elements that most great leaders share. Effective leaders tend to be visionary, confident, inspirational and great communicators. They care about what they do and have respect for the people that follow them. They are driven to make improvements and empower others to be creative and to use their initiative. There are many leadership models, transformational, situational etc which are useful in providing frameworks for developing leaders. However, there are some core aspects of leadership that are sometimes overlooked due to their simplicity. Paying attention to these core, elementary aspects of what makes an effective leader is of vital importance in today's complex world.
If we think of leaders from all walks of life, we know intuitively that the above leadership characteristics are important. Examples could be:
The head teacher of a school confidently leading the school to improve results.
The NGO team leader inspiring their team to continue their work to achieve their vision despite a multitude of challenges.
The company CEO empowering their Senior Management Team to innovate and be creative to achieve results
A simple yet core factor of Effective Leadership - Mindful Intention
There is a fundamental factor that underpins all of the above characteristics of leadership effectiveness. That all leaders have clear intentions. They know with their whole person (their thinking, their emotions and their behaviour) what they intend to achieve.
What do we mean by mindful intention?
Within mindful leadership, intention can be described as; "Being fully aware of a vision - what it is you want to accomplish". Being fully aware means that we have paid attention to our thoughts and to our emotions when creating the vision. Due to a heightened state of awareness the mindful leader makes plans to achieve intention. Taking into account obstacles and making the most of enablers. They put their time and energy into "doing" what really matters, engaging with a plan in a committed and focused manner.
Just as Emotional Intelligence models advocate, the inner attitude of a person is the primary driver of how successful they are at engaging others to follow their lead. When developing leaders, we use our whole person model to developing awareness and create clear intentions that are informed and driven by clear thinking, and emotional intelligence.
Thinking - The logic or rationale behind the intention. Often data, reports or knowledge.
Emotions - The emotional connection with the intention. Perhaps a vision that is close to a leaders heart, a sense of fulfilment when making a difference, pride in creating a product, the excitement of a business deal, the euphoria of success.
Behaviour- What leaders do; informed (both consciously and unconsciously) by their thinking and their emotions. An example is the leader who works alongside their team getting their hands dirty; driven by feelings or values that tell them this is the right thing to do.
Of course this is not a revelation, we all know at a logical level that we follow people who can provide us with clear guidance on achieving a goal. We also know what it feels like when a leader is driving us forwards without having clear intentions; perhaps a manager who drives others performance but disagrees with the company's strategy or a teacher filling heads with knowledge without clarifying why this is useful.
How can I develop myself as a Mindful Leader and lead with clear intention?
Try our new Mindful Leadership app to develop your mindful leadership further. Create clear intentions and become fully aware when planning how to achieve successful outcomes. Find out more here...