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Leading Up

Mar 09, 2021

In order to lead, you must first learn to be led.

As I’ve developed into an authentic people leader, I’ve always tried to be an effective follower.

Followership isn’t about mindlessly executing the boss’ orders.

It requires you to deeply understand what military planners call the “Commander’s Intent”.

This intent is an outline of the who, what, where, when and why with that last bit being the MOST CRITICAL.

Understanding your Commander’s Intent is important for two reasons:

πŸ† You can properly and thoroughly represent your leader’s point of view when they’re not in the room/Zoom.

πŸš€ You can demonstrate your valued ability to improvise and adapt as business conditions shift.

We can help our leaders more clearly and consistently communicate their intent by:

πŸ’ͺ Asking thoughtful, probing questions that get after the WHY and not just the WHAT

πŸ’ͺ Complementing their NATURAL STRENGTHS by bringing our data muscle to their ideas party or by bringing our storytelling ability to their logistical party.

In my case, I’m naturally enthusiastic and empathetic. I’ve used these traits to help leaders articulate their why in a way that resonates with the entire organization.

How can you clarify and better execute your Commander’s Intent?