Fact: We're human; this means that sometimes we execute what is called misguided intentions.
Amy Neftzger describes misguided intentions as: “They don’t see what they’re doing. The only thing they see are their intentions."
But as humans, this is where we are vulnerable to failing. The way we go about trying to put our intentions out into the world may not be so graceful.
Here are 10 misguided "solutions" that we attempt to use, but are not as authentic and as effective as we'd hope:
If you're trying to get someone to care about something, stop right here. Using guilt may work, but will you feel great about it afterwards? Most likely not. This is simply not an exemplary leadership tactic. It's not fair for all parties involved.
2. Rudeness or Being short
So, you're in a rush or trying to get somewhere or feeling particularly impatient in this moment; being rude or being short with someone will not help a single thing. It will not make traffic move, it will not make a transaction move more quickly, it will not help troubleshoot anything. It will only cause deep frustration and it can quite possibly make the other person move slower out of spite.
3. Demeaning or Belittling
We all want to feel smart. We all want the upper hand. Economists call this desire for more information "information asymmetry." As David Burkus said in his TED talk, "This [information asymmetry] is a situation where, in a negotiation, one party has loads more information than the other. And in hiring or promotion or annual raise discussions, an employer can use that secrecy to save a lot of money. Imagine how much better you could negotiate for a raise if you knew everybody's salary." As humans, we tend to use and abuse information asymmetry, even if our intentions are to not abuse this idea. When we are demeaning or when we belittle, we are trying to send a message to the other side that we know more than you and your opinion is not fully informed. But this can also only lead to hurtful - and harmful - feelings or dynamics in a relationship.
When we're feeling defensive our hearts race, blood is speeding through veins, and we can literally feel our brains pulsing. But defensiveness does not help us work through a conflict. Being defensive places walls up that stop teamwork or innovation. We are only reacting and not providing helpful ideas or solutions. We shut down.
Disappearing on people will not make them go away. While we all may not enjoy uncomfortable conversations, they are necessary to problem solving or moving forward. Simply disappearing solves nothing. The person, the problem, the issue is still pending. Sure, life move's on. But people don't forget the fact that you just...tried to disappear (and failed) because - once again - we're humans and not ghosts.
6. Making no decision
If you aren't going to stand up and make a decision, someone will make a decision for you and that may not be the best option. Making no decision, not speaking up, not voicing what needs to be said aloud only hurts projects or relationships. It's like putting thousands of little stress fractures in a bone: eventually the bone will break, and you'll be forced to make a decision.
Lying will only cause more trouble for you down the road. Lying leads to having to cover up lying, and having to connect dots and make sure everyone is on the same page. That is exhausting and it's a terrible way to expend energy when you could be creating something of power, intellect and life-changing difference!
Not stepping up to claim responsibility will inevitably serve as a weak example to those around you. Avoiding a problem or a person or a potential solution or emotions places everyone and everything on hold. You can't move forward until someone steps up.
The definition of rationalization is: an attempt to explain or justify (one's own or another's behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate. If we are spending more time, energy and effort on rationalizing behavior then living good behavior, everything suffers: our relationships, our businesses, our projects. We need clear missions and clear ideas of our work so that rationalizing can thrive elsewhere, but not here.
10. Name calling
When you decide to use name calling, you are entering dangerous territory. You are playing in deep waters that include rationalization, demeaning, belittling, defensiveness and an attempt at passive-aggressive guilt. That is not an impressive résumé. Name calling sets the "me v. them" mentality which leads to dangerous places.
These misguided attempts to achieve your intention will not help clarify, solidify or achieve your goals. It will leave a pathway of wreckage that you'll have to tend to later. Let us try to live with integrity and leave these cheap attempts behind.