“The intention behind your actions is like a shaft behind an arrow head” – Chris Bailey, The Productivity Project
One of the things that comes up often in my coaching sessions and workshops with managers and leaders is the idea of being much more intentional and thoughtful as we go about each thing in our day.
When I was a manager, it was so easy to fall into the trap of allowing my diary to manage me, rather than the other way round! How many of us end up in back-to-back meetings, with not even time to go to the loo? And all it takes is that initial meeting to not quite go according to plan – maybe things got a bit gnarly, or it ran over, or both – and then you start to have a cumulative, knock-on effect throughout your day.
If you lead a team, then be aware that your mood can impact your team’s performance. A 2020 study investigating the impact of a leader’s mood on team performance found that both negative and positive mood can play a part. When the leader had a positive mood, people identified more strongly with being part of the team. When the leader had a negative mood, people focused more on putting forward unique ideas. The researchers end by advising leaders to pay attention to their mood and be mindful of how it can affect team performance and teamwork behaviour.
A framework that can help leaders be more intentional is something I call the 3-A Framework. I came across the original version in a book called How to have a good day, by Caroline Webb. It’s a book I recommend to many of the managers and leaders I work with. The 3-A Framework can help you be more intentional. You can use it to plan your day, your week and so on. You can also use it to plan how you’re going to be in a meeting and the outcomes you want to achieve.
Think about something important you’ve got coming up – it might be a meeting with a new client, for example – and then work through the following questions:
What is the most important outcome for me to achieve? What does success look like?
for me to achieve my Aim, how do I need to show up? For example, if my aim is to motivate a member of my team and help them get back on track with a piece of work, I need to be curious, open to understanding what’s going on for them and with a good energy. The powerful bit here is to ask yourself, how am I really feeling at the moment? Do I have any unhelpful feelings, thoughts or emotions that might get in the way? Can I put these to one side for the moment?
What do I need to pay attention to, for myself? For the other person(s)? Are there things that could derail me? What can I do to keep things on track?
In his book, High Performance Habits, Brendon Burchard shares a mantra he uses to help him be more focused and intentional. The mantra is:
“Release tension. Set Intention”
Isn’t that just so beautifully simple? It’s a great way to remind us to let go of what has happened and focus on the next thing. I have this mantra on a post-it in the corner of my laptop to help me be mindful and intentional in the way I show up for my clients and students. Why not try it?
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