Leading Teams With Focus And Intent

Lynn Lupo

I’m an introvert. I’m also a part-time singer. People have said to me that the stage is an unlikely place for an introvert to be comfortable. But there, I feel in control. If I’m doing my job well, the audience, the band, the engineers – all are looking to me for direction. That may seem like a daunting role, but it is really a powerful place. You are not just interacting with hundreds of people, you are singlehandedly focusing their attention and directing them toward the desired outcome: an enjoyable evening for everyone.

The same could be said of any leader – introvert or not. In their role, they direct the attention – and intention – of those they lead. And while that’s a huge responsibility, it seems to come naturally to so many. What’s their secret? I recently did some reading and found some interesting perspectives on leading companies and people. There were three common threads through much of the advice from the experts.

Ignite passion and inspire greatness

A Google search for “inspiring greatness” returns over 21 million results. Evidently, there are lots of approaches. And inspiring teams or individuals can be challenging. After all, leaders can’t mandate that their team be passionate. Where to start? Begin with the idea that everyone is passionate about something. If you can understand their passion, you can help them leverage it in their daily work. Read “6 Ways to Inspire Passion In Unmotivated Employees.”

Successful leaders also inspire their teams by modeling passionate behavior in everything they do and celebrating the successes of their teams and employees. By example, these leaders show employees how to be “all-in” every day. Read more about leadership traits that inspire teams, including authenticity, in “How to Lead Your Team and Inspire Greatness.” Some leaders use their company’s internal collaboration site to share inspiration and motivate teams. On these sites, they can share their passion for the business, and it can be consumed in-the-moment or on demand.

Focus intention

So, if you’ve inspired passion in your team, what’s next? As a leader, it’s your role to focus that passion on the strategies that will move your company forward. Studies have shown that only a small percentage of employees understand their company’s strategy or how they can contribute. Setting team goals can not only improve performance but also motivate the team. You’ll find ways to do this in the article “Why Your Team Must Be Setting Team Goals.”

But setting goals isn’t enough. Employees need the motivation to meet those goals and achieve the company strategy. Leaders can model this positive intention, giving team members the incentive to do the same. In his article “How Leading With Intention Drives Motivated Employees,” William Craig discusses how intention is the fuel behind “showing up and actualizing the mission.” Teams find strength and success by pulling together in the same direction.

Cultivate open, regular feedback

In live music, you sometimes have a situation where the sound “feeds back.” An open microphone picks up a sound and pushes it through the speakers where it is amplified and picked up again by the microphone, resulting in a high-pitched squeal. This loop of sound can be unwelcome if you didn’t plan it. But a creative musician can intentionally use this sound for dramatic effect. Good leaders intentionally keep an open ear for feedback and then leverage that feedback to improve their team. And they regularly give feedback that can help employees adjust their performance. You’ll find some great examples in “3 Ways You Can Provide a Feedback Loop Employees Will Value.”

Technology can help with this feedback. Most companies use a tool to cascade company and team goals and discuss performance based on those goals. But regular interaction with employees can also be based around values – those of the company and the values of the employees themselves. This helps bring teams closer together, as discussed in “Measuring Value, And Values, In Workplace Communication.” Team loyalty can be built when employees feel they add value and when they value their workplace.

A famous Chinese proverb says, “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.” By leveraging the ideas of these industry experts and the technology to support them, leaders can give a performance worthy of a standing ovation.

Embracing constant change at work does not happen overnight. Learn more about The Top Skills You Need To Lead In Times Of Continuous Change.

Lynn Lupo

About Lynn Lupo

Lynn Lupo is a solution manager for the SAP Global Wholesale Distribution Industry Business Unit at SAP. She focuses on marketing and enablement and supports the ASUG Special Interest Group for Wholesale Distribution.