#ShowingUp with Anese Cavanaugh

5 Fail Safe Questions for Creating Intentional Leadership

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Recently I helped a client get ready for an intense conversation with his team. There'd been some big stuff happening in their division, not all of it great. He had a "state of the union" to deliver as well as some requests. His concern was that if he didn't handle it well, he'd create a mess, not have any clean next steps, waste time, and ultimately demoralize the team. He was nervous.

My good friend was having a challenge with her son. There'd been tension for a while and she sensed he'd been dishonest with her. They needed a heart to heart. Her concern was that if she didn't handle it well, she'd create a mess, alienate him, and create even more resistance between them moving forward.

In another land, my colleague's team was rockin' it and he wanted to do something awesome for them. His concern was he wouldn't honor them well enough.

I today am wrapping up a move, throwing my daughter a birthday party, working with clients, and writing to you. I want to make sure that I'm productive AND that everyone feels honored and seen.

Four scenarios -- I'll bet you can plug yourself into at least 3 of them, if not all. So what to do?

It's so simple. Happy Monday.

Take ANY situation you are in. Any meeting you have this week. Any one-on-one conversation. Any thing you want to create impact in and consider these five questions:

  1. What do you want to have happen? These are your outcomes -- what do you want to have happen as a result of this conversation/action/etc.?
  2. How do you want people to feel? This is your emotional impact -- how do you want people to experience you and this "event"? (This is gold, put your intention here and you'll intuitively know better how to interact with them, regardless of the content of the conversation.)
  3. How will you have to show up to make it all happen? Your presence, your tone, your regard for them, the vibe you put out -- what does it need to be?
  4. What will you have to do? What actions will you need to take to prepare for the conversation and follow up afterwards to set yourself up for success?
  5. What can you be grateful for? What can you acknowledge about the situation no matter how sticky it might be? (For example my friend with her son, it may be as simple as connecting with the energy of gratitude that 1) she and her son can even have this conversation, and 2) acknowledging him for who he is as a human being.)

Consider these 5 before you go in. Jot the answers down if that serves you. Give yourself some space to ground in your intentions. Being a little proactive, goes a long long long way. The name of the game is to be present, clear, intentional, and responsible for the energy you bring to the table. If your intentions are clean and pure, you're gold.

Go forth and lead. It's a Monday!

This article first appeared on the Inc blog on June 8, 2015.

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