Intentional Leadership

Have you ever thought about what it means to be an intentional leader? Most, if not all of us, planned on being the best leader we possibly could be for our teams. However, as time goes on and workload increases, sometimes our focus on intentional leadership can get lost in the day-to-day things until one day we realize we’ve lost our way.   Things seem to be out of control more than usual and we wonder where our influence has gone.  What has happened to team morale?  Team trust is lower than in the past.  

So how do we fix this problem? By becoming more intentional in our leadership mindset, communication and actions.

In my new book, People First, I openly share the failures and successes I’ve had as a leader in the medical profession along with practical steps that you can take to become the intentional, people-first leader you want to be and that your team will benefit from. The following tips pulled from my book will help you get started on intentional leadership today:

Advancement versus Growth – The first step to becoming an intentional leader is understanding the difference in mindsets surrounding advancement and growth. The advancement mindset focuses on climbing a ladder to reach the top; it focuses primarily on titles, positions, and job descriptions. The growth mindset, however, focuses primarily on continuous improvement and creating an environment in which people are encouraged and supported to stretch and reach in ways that don’t necessarily adhere to traditional hierarchies; building experience and developing skills through different “handholds,” or projects and activities.

Mission Reflects Mindset – Each organization is unique and its mindset is reflected in its mission statement. In the many years that I’ve coached on operational leadership, it’s always a shock to me that so few people on a team understand and can recite their organization’s mission. The mission statement for any organization sets the course for where your team is headed and gives you, the leader, the ability to accurately measure your organization’s success. Your mission reflects your purpose and your why – the reason you and everyone on your team get up every morning. If you’re unsure about your mission, the next step in becoming an intentional leader is to create, revisit, and revamp your mission statement.

Values Guide Behavior – Just as the mission reveals who you are, the organization’s values serve a similar function and ensure your mindset is lived through words and actions. Core values are root beliefs and principles that guide the work. However, values are more than just words. They have real definitions and behavioral examples that eliminate confusion and misinterpretation of your organization’s philosophy or beliefs. Values help shape the culture and drive decision-making. They provide clarity around expected behaviors and actions and become the moral compass for every individual in the organization. Therefore, the final step in becoming an intentional, people-first leader is by working with your team to solidify both the understanding and implementation of your company’s values.

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About Amy Lafko

As a Physical Therapist, Amy spent years in school learning best practices for patient care and how to put the patient first. Like so many technically skilled clinicians, she advanced to a leadership role. Spending 20+ years in operational leadership, she had an epiphany: Putting the customer first isn’t the path to success or fulfillment. Rather, the most successful organizations and practices put their people first – and exceptional customer care, profitability, and effectiveness naturally followed.