For the longest time I was blinded by my own good intentions.
I’d focus too much on what I’d meant others to feel and see, asking them to carry the weight of any miscommunication, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation. They should be open to honest feedback, and not caught up in the specifics of how the message was delivered. They must know that we all value their hard work, never mind that it wasn’t as well-received as they’d hoped in that big meeting. And certainly they are filling in the blanks just the way I’d expect, even though we’ve not been in touch for a few weeks or months.
Well no, actually.
Good intentions are nice enough. They are certainly better than bad intentions. But, to quote that old saw, all you need is good intentions and a token (OK, a Metrocard swipe) to get a ride on the NYC subway.
The skill of leadership is the skill of mobilizing others to action. This starts with consistently, intentionally, and skillfully translating our right intentions to everyone else’s right experience.
If our message doesn’t land in the right way for different people – people who process information differently, people who show up differently, people who have different relationships to power and autonomy and to themselves – then that’s on us.