The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
In a group discussion on the topic of Leading With Intention, we were asked to share a story about where the impact of our actions didn’t match our intention.
One participant shared a story about a project that had stalled. He shared that he gathered the team to address it, with the intention to fix it and get it back on track.
What he did not do was discuss the issue first with the team lead. He did not ask the team lead if everything was under control. Instead, he went straight to fix-it mode.
The impact of his action was to undermine the agency and authority of the team lead.
As it happens, this person is a man and the team lead was a woman. His actions further entrenched culturally-habituated power dynamics.
There’s a difference between intention and impact. Even the most good-hearted and well-meaning actions don’t always land in the way we intend.
This is one of the side effects of being human.
The bigger issue is how we address it and what plans we put in place to make sure it won’t happen again.
The person shared that next time he would be sure to approach the team lead before launching into fix-it mode, to check if any support was needed and if there was even a problem that needed to be fixed.
That’s a good start. And also there’s a more fundamental step:
Getting clear on your intention.
You can’t even assess whether the impact aligned with your intention unless you’re clear on what your intention is in the first place.
Today is the first day of the month and the first day of the week. What is your intention for this week and month? Get clear now so you have a basis for assessment.