Boris Groysberg, Richard P. Chapman Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and co-author with Michael Slind of Talk, Inc.: How Trusted Leaders Use Conversation to Power their Organizations addresses the importance of intentionality in leadership. He writes that it’s not enough to have clear intentions, but that leaders also need to make that intentionality crystal clear to others.
Modeling intentionality requires leaders to convey strategic principles not just by asserting them but by explaining them—by generating consent rather than commanding assent. In his model, leaders speak extensively and explicitly with their teams about the vision and the logic that underlies senior decision making. As a result, people at every level gain a big-picture view of where their organization stands within its competitive environment. In short, from an independent school point of view, they become conversant in matters of school strategy.
When leaders model this intentionality, Groysberg explains, then other members of the organization are more likely to apply the same principles to their communications. It’s not too far a stretch to see the benefits of intentionality infusing communication between department members, in parent interactions, and beyond.
There are concrete things you can do to begin to build this competency now. So, the next time you jump into a Zoom or start to compose an email (maybe especially one that you wouldn't have otherwise viewed as all that consequential), take a moment to consider: what’s my intent here, and how will I convey that in my words and actions? By taking even just five minutes to reframe your perspective, you can act with much more intentionality in a way that will be felt by others immediately. And eventually, this reflective practice will become instinctual.
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