Intentional leadership occurs when each action or interaction a leader takes is done with a precise goal in mind. In other words, there is a plan or purpose for every action and interaction. Intentional leadership should encompass the ordinary activities organizations conduct everyday and also the unexpected circumstances leaders are faced with periodically.
Intentional leaders adapt to circumstances and adjust as needed. Intentional leaders do not take on a victim mentality if circumstances go awry as George Bradt points out in his Forbes commentary (http://www.forbes.com/sites/georgebradt/2012/04/23/intentional-leaders-are-not-victims-of-circumstance/). It is a choice to lead intentionally – in every situation and each activity, regardless of difficulty.
Here are some examples of actions and interactions leaders regularly encounter that need intentional leadership:
- Producing and delivering a quality product or service
- Setting and communicating the organization’s mission, vision, and strategy
- Setting, achieving, and communicating organizational financial goals
- Identifying, implementing, improving, and communicating organizational processes and structures
- Identifying and sharing organizational needs
- Following and sharing organizational and governmental legal requirements
- Hiring and coaching employees using a robust talent management plan
- Increasing market share and visibility in the marketplace
- Managing organizational emergencies
As you can see from this partial list of leadership activities, intentional leadership is absolutely required if people and organizations are to achieve lasting success. Evaluating whether you are leading intentionally is an important action for those leaders that desire the greatest effectiveness in their leadership activities.
One way to evaluate if you are leading intentionally is to look through the prism of the 4Ps Leadership Compass™. This model focuses on 30 discrete competencies within 4 categories:
- Persuasive Vision
- Positive Results
- Personal Character
- People Skills
Are you leading intentionally in these areas? Are you setting a positive tone and leading by example in each? Every action and interaction should have purpose and be done with the intent to succeed or to influence success. Remember, the manner in which you act and interact is likely mirrored by those you lead, so be sure to lead intentionally to achieve the best results!