Let’s Have A Real Conversation About Giving Yourself Too Much Credit For Your Good Intentions

Let’s break leadership down into three areas:

  • Recognition
  • Intention
  • Action



This is where you pay attention to what’s going on around you. You could call this analysis or observation. It is where you begin to notice things in the largest context possible – what does what I’m seeing tell me about our business culture, or the industry, or of the nature of humanity? Leaders are good “recognizers.”

However, many people stop here, content with their powers of observation. For many people, this observation and recognition only result in them to form opinions and judgments, and they stay right there without any movement. It is a victim’s stance.



Now that you’ve recognized, you might then begin to form an intention around what you recognize. “That needs changing” or “that’s an opportunity” or “that’s a problem.” This is where you begin to imagine that things could be or should be different than they are, and you now hold, at some level, a desire or hope for change. You’d LIKE to do something about it.

However, many people stop here, content with their good intentions. It is when we find ourselves in meetings discussing how things should be different – and then we’re having the same conversation a year later and a year later than that. It is also where many people decide that even though they have good intentions, they don’t have the wherewithal to do anything to address the change that needs to happen. It’s also an opportunity for us to give ourselves far too much credit, to pat ourselves on the back, to say, “I get it.”



This is what separates leaders from the rest of the crowd. They recognize, they form intentions, and then they act. These actions often involve risk. Leaders are OK with that because they are continuously dissatisfied with the status quo and they’re willing to do something to change it. 

Where is your organization regarding this? How many of your discussions and meetings end up with no meaningful actions? How good are you at initiating projects and initiatives, and then following up to see that these things get done?


Don’t give yourself or your organization too much credit for identifying what’s wrong, and to form sincere emotions around what might be possible. The world ultimately rewards – and needs – those who will complete the loop of recognizing what is, of having the best intention, and then doing something about it.

About the Author

Sarah Thomson

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