How Living Intentionally Can Improve Your Effectiveness

Busy at work and life? Don’t forget to think about why, and who you are going to be along the way.

“Women have choices. We can lead with intention, we can ask, we can decide,” says CCL’s Laura Santana, a senior leadership solutions partner and frequent facilitator of our Women’s Leadership Experience program.

“But all too often, we just default to the status quo.”

Making intentional choices about our careers is important for everyone. For women, it includes understanding the organizational and cultural roadblocks and realities that are unique to women in the workplace.

It’s also about understanding the barriers each woman places on herself — often needlessly and even without realizing it. For example:

  • She will take the job or assignment because it is offered to her, or needs to be done — not because it fits into a plan or helps achieve a goal.
  • She doesn’t put herself in the running for a promotion — because “oh, I’m not quite ready.”
  • She waits for her good work and leadership potential to be noticed.
  • She accepts “the way things are” — without considering if asking or pushing back is the right move.
  • She shoulders the work and family overload — neglecting her own goals, development, or well-being.
  • She has a success at work — and then chalks it up to just “luck.”

“Each woman needs to make time to think about her identity as leader, choose what she wants, and work intentionally to make it happen,” says Santana.

Be More Intentional in These 3 Areas to Increase Your Effectiveness

Santana helped develop the program content and design of our Women’s Leadership Experience. It is based around 3 themes, or levers, that can have a powerful impact on women’s effectiveness as leaders:

  • Gaining self-clarity,
  • Living agentically, and
  • Partnering.

1. Gaining Self-Clarity.

Women’s leadership development is, in large part, about identity. It’s about helping women get clear on their values, motivations, and behaviors, as well as the characteristics and roles that are part of who you are.

With self-clarity, you begin to see ways your identity is playing out positively or negatively in terms of leadership effectiveness. You understand how to lead authentically and  how to set goals that align with your values.

2. Living Agentically.

Agency is about taking control of your career, knowing you are shaping your job, your leadership style, and your life. It begins with identifying a desired goal and then actively pursuing the experience, behaviors, skills, or relationships that will put you in a position to achieve that goal.

Living agentically is equally important for establishing your desired leadership brand.

“Your leadership brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room,” explains Katherine Pappa, another of our senior faculty. “What do you want that to be? What do you need to do to create it?”

3. Partnering.

The right relationships and ties are known to be an asset in getting access to information, earning promotions, and gaining opportunities. Effective leaders rely on key networks and trusted partners to get results.

Yet, many women resist the process of networking. Here’s how women can build an effective network.

“Ultimately, it’s about developing leadership capability in service of a chosen goal, rather than one that just happens to be there — and in ways that will have the most impact,” says Pappa.

“There is great power in the choosing, in leading with more intentionality,” adds Santana.

The Women’s Leadership Experience (WLE) is an opportunity for experienced managers to choose how to take the next step as a leader — in ways that get the results for them and for their organizations. It begins and ends with short, face-to-face sessions with peers and specialized facilitators and coaches. In between, women work on challenges and goals, engage with coaches, and refine their personal leadership strategy.

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