The Quality of a Leader’s Intent

Two leaders in the same circumstances doing the same thing can bring about completely different outcomes. I’ve often wondered why.

It is more than just luck. It is an inner quality of certain leaders. There is a quality to certain people’s intent, capacity to observe without judging, capacity to see a new way to put the jigsaw pieces together that makes a big difference in the outcomes.

What can you do to be up with the best Leaders?

There are 2 areas where the best leaders excel:

  • Observation without comparing to the past; and
  • Flexibility in Execution.

Observe Non-Judgementally: Quality of Attention

Successful leadership depends on the quality of attention that the leader brings to any situation.

We have 3 major internal enemies to clarity of observation:

  1. VOJ – The Voice of Judgement “why do they always screw up like this!”
  2. VOC – The Voice of Cynicism “what does it matter anyway.”
  3. VOF – The Voice of Fear “who am I to push this? I am not even sure why I believe it is correct.”

Each of these voices stops a leader seeing something new in the situation.  They are mapping the data to a past experience, and they will probably reuse a past template for responding to the situation.  Old school, reactive communication.

The 4 Levels of Listening


Execute Mindfully: Quality of Action

Otto Scharmer believes there are also 3 enemies to quality execution:

  1. Reactive Action – executing without improvisation and mindfulness
  2. Analysis Paralysis – endless reflection without a will to act
  3. Blah blah communication – and talking without a connection to source and action

Take the course

Otto is currently teaching an EdX course on the U Model and how to put into practice these ideas of deep listening, sourcing new ideas and executing with mindfulness.  The course is U.Lab: Transforming Business, Society, and Self: Learn how to create profound innovation in a time of disruptive change by leading from the emerging future.  The hashtag is #ulab.

Looking forward to your reflections and comments if you join the course 😉