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ATD Blog

Leading With Intent: Guiding Your Team With Purpose

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Leadership is more than just giving orders and making decisions. It’s about inspiring and guiding a team toward a shared vision. Leading with intent involves leading with purpose, clarity, and a deep understanding of your team’s needs. In this article, we will explore the concept of leading with intent and the benefits it can bring to your team and organization.

Clarify Your Purpose

Leading with intent starts with clarifying your purpose as a leader. What is the overarching mission or vision that drives your leadership approach? By understanding your purpose, you can align your actions and decisions with a clear direction, which helps inspire and motivate your team. Having a sense of purpose allows leaders to make decisions based on what is best for the team and organization in the long run, rather than simply reacting to short-term challenges.

Communicate Clearly and Effectively

Successful leaders know the importance of clear and effective communication. When leading with intent, it is vital to articulate your goals, expectations, and vision in a way that resonates with your team. This entails being transparent, honest, and concise in your communication. By sharing pertinent information and ensuring that everyone understands their role in achieving the shared vision, you create a sense of empowerment and collective accountability within the team.

Empower Your Team

Leading with intent also involves empowering your team members to take ownership of their work and contribute to the organization’s overall success. This means providing them with the necessary resources, authority, and support to excel in their roles. A leader who empowers their team fosters a culture of trust, autonomy, and innovation. By giving individuals the freedom to make decisions and take risks, you encourage personal growth, foster creativity, and create a more engaged and motivated workforce.


Emphasize Personal Development

Leaders who lead with intent recognize the importance of personal development for themselves and their team members. They encourage regular feedback, coaching, and opportunities for growth. By investing in the development of your team, you not only enhance their skills and knowledge but also demonstrate your commitment to their success. This, in turn, improves employee retention, engagement, and overall job satisfaction.

Build Strong Relationships

Building strong relationships with your team members is also intentional. By establishing rapport and trust, you create an environment where individuals feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and challenges openly. A leader who cultivates strong relationships leads by example, fosters collaboration, and encourages diversity of thought. These relationships act as a foundation for effective teamwork and enable the successful execution of shared goals.


Adapt to Change

Communicating intent prior to implementing a change is a critical step in leading with intent. It requires transparency, flexibility, and adaptability in the face of change. An effective leader understands that change is constant and embraces it as an opportunity for growth and improvement. By communicating openly about change, involving the team in decision-making processes, and providing support during transitions, you can help your team navigate new challenges confidently.


Leading with intent is a deliberate approach that empowers and inspires your team to achieve their full potential. By clarifying your purpose, communicating clearly, empowering your team, emphasizing personal development, building strong relationships, adapting to change, and leading by example, you create an environment of trust, creativity, and accountability. By consistently leading with intent, you drive your team toward success, foster a positive organizational culture, and achieve outstanding results.

About the Author

Michelle Cummings is the co-founder, CEO, and chief creative officer for Personify Leadership, a leadership development company. She is an accomplished author and is a dynamic, sought-after speaker and consultant in the areas of leadership, teambuilding, and experiential learning. Michelle has created a wide variety of facilitation tools, team building exercises and leadership programs that have collectively changed the way trainers and leaders work.

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