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How to navigate unintended impact?

Even the most well-intentioned leaders can find themselves veering off course, creating ripple effects that hinder rather than help progress. From CEOs to senior leaders, anyone with influence can end up in a situation where the pressure is immense. It can lead to leaders who push the pressure down, onto the teams below. Resulting in fabricated work, missed opportunities, and low employee morale, ultimately doing more harm in the long run.

Becoming aware of your unintended impact is crucial to navigate your leader role effectively. So, what can you do about it?

  • Your Experience is Only Yours: Remember, the only one experiencing your reality is you. Acknowledge that your perspective is shaped by your unique life experiences and be mindful that others may see things (very) differently. 

  • Be Open to Your Own Context: When you are blind to your own contexts, you are vulnerable to falling into scenarios that are dysfunctional for you personally, for your relationships, and for your systems. You respond reflexively to these contexts — not all of you, not every time, but with great regularity — without awareness or choice. It is as if these scenarios happen to you without any agency on your part.

  • Meet People Where They Are: Instead of trying to pull others to your viewpoint, step into their shoes. Be open to their context. Understand their perspective, speak their language, and invite them to walk with you rather than pushing them away.

  • Promote a Culture of Open Communication: Foster a culture where team members feel comfortable providing feedback and raising concerns about the impact of your actions. I know the feedback piece is particularly challenging. It's never pleasant, but it's necessary.

  • Regularly Assess Organizational Climate: Conduct assessments of the organizational climate to gauge employee satisfaction, engagement levels, and perceptions of leadership effectiveness. Use the findings to identify areas for improvement and address any unintended impacts. Don't wait with taking measures. 

  • Check Your Culture: Ensure your actions align with the belief system you're promoting within your organization. Cultivate an environment where alignment is non-negotiable.

  • Surround Yourself with Honest Voices: Build a community of people who will provide honest feedback about your impact. Lead by example and invite others to do the same, fostering a culture of mutual support and growth.

  • Foster Meaningful Dialogue: Move beyond statements to genuine invitations for engagement. Create opportunities for dialogue where everyone's voice is valued and heard, rather than simply ticking off tasks on a list.

Together, let's lead with intention and make a difference.

P.S. If you want to elevate your impact as a leader and could use the support and accountability of a coach to that end, reach out for a no-obligation coaching consultation.


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