Actions Outweigh Intentions

accountability achievement business coaching intentionality life advice taking action Jun 25, 2024
Jody Holland Training & Speaking | Leadership
Actions Outweigh Intentions

As a leader, your actions and outcomes far outweigh your intentions. No one cares about what you meant to do; they only care about what you have demonstrated. You can have the best intentions for your team and organization, but if you don’t follow-through on those intentions, then they mean nothing. 

I once had a boss who kept making promises that they would not keep. It would sound something like, “If you do ‘X,’ then you’ll get a raise.” The problem with a “if this, then that” statement is that you have to actually uphold your end of the deal. You cannot go back on your word or add extra stipulations. I would always accomplish what they wanted me to do, but I never got the thing they promised me. You start to lose faith after so many times of another person not following through. Your word is only as strong as your actions.

The best leaders follow through, whether it’s a promise of some kind of reward or a warning about certain consequences. You would get frustrated if your employees did not do something they said they were going to do, so why should it be any different if you don’t do what you said you would do as a leader?

Think of it this way. Imagine you wake up on your wedding anniversary next to your spouse, you roll over, and you say, “I meant to get you an anniversary gift and write a sweet card.” How do you think they will react? Will they say, “How thoughtful of you! Thank you so much. That means the world to me, and it’s okay that you didn’t get me anything”? Or do you think it’s more likely that they would say something along the lines of, “You meant to get me something? It’s the same day every year. It’s not like you didn’t know how important today is.” I’m inclined to expect the latter. No one cares what your intentions are if you don’t act on them, not even your spouse.

We are known by what we do, not by what we say we are going to do. It’s important as a leader to demonstrate your expectations and behave in a way that encourages others to do the same. Take your intentions and turn them into a plan of action. Imagine your desired outcome, and work your way backwards. What do you need to do to fulfill your goals? Who needs to be involved? When do you need to get started? Once you have a clear vision for what you want to accomplish, take action daily that will set you up for success.


-Meghan Slaughter

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