Trigger Questions

Did You Make Your Intentions Clear?

Trigger Question #21

“Don’t follow my example. Follow my intension.”

. . .

You know you lead by example. (You’ve been told that often enough. Starting in school, no doubt.)

But did you know if you are a leader, you can never NOT lead? Think about it. People watch your comings and doings all the time. This means that you lead through what you DO (you as example) and you lead through what you DON’T do (you as example!).

It gets more complicated. Leadership is not about where we are now. It is about where we should be, could be, or want to be. Which means leadership is about intentions.

Here’s the catch. You cannot lead with intentions. Intentions are as yet unattained goals. And they remain unattained until acted on. How do you lead by example if all you have at the moment are intentions? Through your words. Lacking concrete examples, your words are the next best thing to express your intentions.

The problem is that words can be ambiguous. Words can have different meanings to different people. (What does bi-monthly mean? Does it mean twice every month or every second month?) Which is why wise leaders are deliberate in their use of language. They choose words carefully, selecting specific words for the exact meaning they wish to communicate.

Our problem is that we allow slang, and our innate human laziness, to shrink our vocabulary. And so the gap of misunderstanding increases between what we say and what they hear. As we become tone deaf, intentions remain unfulfilled.

You don’t lead with words. You lead with deeds. But when intentions are all you have, then choose your words carefully.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.

. . .