Many leadership programs have executive role models share how they lead with the next generation of leaders. I was fortunate to arrange many such forums in my career. During one of these sessions one of the most loved and effective leaders at a Fortune 100 company shared how he achieved both engagement and accountability. He constantly asked himself “Is my behavior was getting the results I intend? He emphasized this meant not only the business results, but the effect on his team’s motivation and engagement. He was ruthless and vigilant in getting and acting on feedback he received about how he led to ensure his intention for his behavior and the perception of it was aligned.
It takes courage to find out if your behavior, as seen by your team, matches your intention in both results and style. It takes commitment and tenacity to change it if it does not.
One way I learned this was not in business but riding the trails with my horse Echo. My intention was to enjoy our interaction and have a great outdoor experience together. At times I was too busy getting Echo to go in the trailer, telling him what to do and where to go, and fending off horseflies to meet his needs for interaction, direction and support. Sometimes my intention was is not met, and Echo was not excited to go trail riding again any time soon. At the end of the day, to achieve my intention and get the results, I learned to provide the direction and support Echo needed while staying on task with a sharp, discerning, and empathetic eye. How we ride the trail may be different than I plan, but we achieve our goal and we both enjoy the ride. Applying this insight to my leadership back on the job was a game-changer for my team.
Is your behavior matching your intention-not as you see it, but to those you lead?