Why is positive intent important in leadership

african american men holding hands on escalator
Photo by Uriel Mont on Pexels.com

As leaders, we must take action with positive intent.

Positive intent means willing to assume that our office teammates and employees are working to the best of their ability with the information and resources they have now. At its core, positive intent means believing that we’re all doing the best we can.

Some Positive Intentions in Daily Lives

  • I intend to answer first and then react.
  • I intend to show happiness naturally.
  • I intend to always lead by example.
  • I intend to observe Divinity in everyone.
  • I intend to be open to abundance and success.
  • I intend to quit taking things personally every time someone criticizes me.
  • I intend to properly forgive others and myself.
  • I intend to respect and love unconditionally.

We all commit blunders. However, we almost always hold a double standard – we judge other people’s errors unfavorably than we judge our own. Being deaf to this double standard is pernicious to teamwork and will negatively affect your ability to lead.

When we commit errors, we often blame the situation’s circumstances rather than take accountability for the blunder. When others make mistakes, we tend to constantly over-emphasize the other individual’s role in that blunder–we very swiftly blame them! As a result, we tend to believe that other people’s characters, personalities, values, and education have led to their mistakes:

  1. They were not sincere
  2. It was their responsibility
  3. They had negative intentions
  4. They’re ignorant, stupid, and dumb

Once these outcomes arise in our heads, we act as if they are real. This is very damaging. 

To dodge this scenario, you must think positively. You must assume positive intent.

Assuming positive intent is a decisive leadership move. However, to get great at it, you must first understand your automatic tendency to see harmful intentions when something affects you negatively. Then you must carefully practice looking for genuinely positive intent.

Whenever you are trying to find and observe positive intent in someone, you give them the much-needed benefit of the doubt, and you give yourself an opportunity to learn the details of the circumstances. You may be shocked how often you know something that you hadn’t previously expected. Once you understand the details, you may get to see that the team member was undoubtedly competent, committed, and on top of the situation.

You’ll likely dodge many damaging and embarrassing conversations if you hold on to positive intent. Just as importantly, understanding positive intent makes it simpler for the other person to engage in a productive discussion rather than getting defensive. You will be able to work together more efficiently to deal with the circumstance.

Was it worth reading? Let us know.