How To Lead With Intention

The Only Thing You Need To Lead Is Intention

Have you ever come across an article, web page, book, or seminar about “how to lead?”

Of course you have – we all have. I’ve even written some of them myself.

You know the kind I mean: “The 9 (or 13, or some other number of) Characteristics of a Great Leader,” or “How to Lead Like Attila the Hun,” or “The Seven Commandments of Leadership.”

Of course many of these programs, videos, and articles have useful ideas about leadership that have real value, but in this short article I’m going to break leadership down to one idea.

Many (most?) of the great leaders of history never had any leadership training at all, yet they were able to change the course of a company, country, or even history.

How could they have such impact without any leadership training?

What is it that they had that made them so effective?

They led with what they had.

They picked a direction and got started. Along the way they developed tactics and picked up skills and followers, but they started with what they had – even if it was nothing more than a vision.

Here’s the word that I use to summarize this idea: INTENTION.

They intended to do what they set out to do. Not just a “sort of,” “kind of,” “maybe” intention. Not an “if it’s not too inconvenient” intention. Not an “I have to master three skills before I start” intention. They developed a strong, unstoppable intention and they never considered the possibility that they wouldn’t achieve their objective. They assumed that they would get their intended result -and they did.

Steve Jobs is famous for this. By many accounts he could be a difficult person to work for, but he had what came to be known as his “reality distortion field” where everything that didn’t match his intention was either ignored or distorted to fit the intention. Later in his career he became a better manager, but he started with nothing more than intention.

Here’s the bottom line: Someone with a strong intention and no leadership training is much more likely to do something spectacular than someone with a weak intention and a lot of leadership training. Start now – lead with what you have.

What About You?

So, what is your intention?

It doesn’t have to be a fancy goal that’s simple, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timed (a smart goal, commonly taught in management training.) Of course a well-defined goal is a valuable tool, but don’t let the lack of one keep you from getting started.

You can be far from perfect as a manager, but people will sense your strength of intention and follow you. Now is the time to set your intention and take action.

Here are three things you can do right now:

  1. Ask yourself this question: What is my intention in my life/business/relationship (pick one)?
  2. If you don’t know the answer to #1, pick something and get started anyway. It doesn’t need to be “right,” it just needs to be.
  3. Once you are moving you can strengthen it, refine it, or change it to serve you better.

Set your intention now and enjoy the results.

BONUS: you can find your communication style for free and get my latest research when you join my private client list.

And… when you set your intention, leave a comment below and let me know!