At a recent client offsite with a senior leadership team, I asked these leaders to consider how often they readily “assume positive intent” about the words or actions of another. These executives share similar drives of wanting to have influence over people and events. In essence, they all like to be in charge. Their bias for action and their agility helps them to move quickly, qualities that served their organization well as they navigated through uncertainty and disruption when Covid-19 upended the world as we knew it.
They continue to zig and zag and leap over unprecedented obstacles. Despite similarities in styles, every person has unique qualities. These leaders have sufficient differences which help them balance on another, but also periodically cause friction and misalignment.
How Often Do You Assume Positive Intent?
Assuming positive intent requires trust. And trust is the critical foundational element for any high-performing, aligned team. We may disagree on how to accomplish something, or you may want more details than I need, or I may feel totally comfortable taking a risk that makes you tremble.
The best path forward comes from first assuming positive intent. When trust is present, you can talk about your different perspectives and ideas, and you can respectfully disagree. You don’t feel the need to take your worries and criticism to others to vent or for validation. You remain open to talking through differences to find the best solution you can at that point in time. You may end up simply agreeing to disagree. Yet both will at least feel heard and respected, rather than dismissed and ignored.
The next time you find yourself jumping to assign motivation to another’s words or actions, take a moment to reflect rather than react. First, assume positive intent. Then openly explore one another’s perspectives. You will not only surface better ideas; you will build trust and strengthen relationships and alignment of your team.
Do you want to learn how to align your team for amazing results?
As a leader, you are expected to produce results and to build
thriving cultures. Doing so requires not only the right leaders
on the team, but having an aligned, cohesive leadership
team. Do you know where the opportunities are for your
team? Perhaps you have some thoughts, but what if you had
real, science-based data rather than the movie running in
In our 90-minute 1:1 Team & Strategy Alignment Session, you will discover insights about yourself, each leader and the team’s collective strengths and caution areas. You will also learn how well positioned your team is to deliver on your organization’s strategic priorities.
You will be astounded by what you learn about yourself, your team and how well they align to
their most important goals. AND, you will walk away with ideas you can put into action right
Want to learn more? Here’s a brief example. Now imagine a rich conversation about your
team and the work you need to do.
Still not sure? Take this free, quick Behavioral Assessment to learn more about your leadership
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Strategic Imperatives: Aligning strategy, leaders and culture to create thriving organizations.
Here are a few ways we help strengthen leaders and build leadership team alignment.