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Delegate More and Worry Less with the Leaders Intent Process.

Updated: Mar 26

Leader's intent has gained popularity as an approach to leading teams. Although it originated in the military, it has been adapted for the business world through executive leadership training programs and books. The concept of this approach is simple: instead of leaders trying to plan for every possible outcome and process, they

  • Set business objectives

  • Communicate why they are important

  • Outline guiding principles

  • Define key deliverables 

  • Request brief back from the team

  • Empower their teams to make decisions and take action to achieve goals. 

This approach allows flexibility, creativity, and innovation, enabling everyone to leverage their strengths to solve business problems.

Executive Coach Dorian Cunion

Delegate more with the leader's intent process.

I recently helped a client set a new approach with his office team around how they would attract more customers. The business owner's objective was to establish a set customer outreach process. He told me this was important because he wants to increase his employees' wages this year and needs the extra revenue to cover the added expense. We outlined guiding principles such as budget and key deliverables such as developing a new sales script. By the end of our discussion, he had a good framework to introduce to employees and gain their buy-in for transforming their approach to attracting new customers. 

One of the biggest challenges that most business leaders have is ensuring employees understand their vision. The leader's intent process calls for leaders to

  • Slow down

  • Articulate their vision

  • Put it on paper

  • Communicate it to their team

Once leaders communicate their intent to their team, they must provide time for employees to ask questions and provide feedback. After all questions have been answered and concerns addressed, it is crucial for the leader to request a brief back. This will help ensure that employees understand what you want from them, and you can confidently empower the team, knowing they have the information they need to execute the business objective.

Verify understanding with a brief back.

A brief back is a simple yet effective way for a leader to confirm that those working with them understand their vision and the parameters associated with the task they are delegating to employees. The brief back starts with a simple question:

" Tell me what you heard?"

This question allows the employee to share their interpretation of the conversation so that the leader can validate that they are on the same page.

Key call out: you must ensure your team understands what you communicate. 

In many cases, the brief back process allows the leader to clarify their ask and to ensure alignment with their employees. It is common for leaders not to have complete clarity about what they want until they can discuss it with others. The brief back process allows everyone involved to confirm their understanding of the business objective, its importance, guiding principles, and key deliverables.


In conclusion, the leader's intent approach is a powerful tool that can help improve business performance. It encourages leaders to communicate better and confirm understanding. This approach unlocks motivation, innovation, and creativity by eliminating micro-managing and allowing employees to be more involved with the planning process. The brief back step can help ensure the leader and employees are on the same page. As businesses evolve and grow more complex, leaders must change their approach to leading teams. The leader's intent approach is the solution for positioning yourself to delegate more and worry less.


Thank you for reading this blog

Executive Coach Dorian Cunion

As an executive coach and small business consultant, I guide small business owners and business professionals in achieving their professional and business goals.

Whether you want to start, transform, or improve your business or career, I can help you magnify your strengths, minimize weaknesses, identify threats, and take advantage of opportunities.

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