Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

Living with the Power of Positive Intent

Posted on 19 Nov 2015 in Coaching, Leadership, Life, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Living with the Power of Positive Intent

Take a second (if it even takes that long) and think back to the last conflict or disagreement that you had.

Got it?

What were the feelings or emotions that were present?

  • Fear?
  • Anger?
  • Jealously?
  • Pain?
  • Disappointment?
  • Frustration?

What was the source of those feelings?

Chances are it was the other person:

  • It was their fault, because they weren’t as committed to the business as you are.
  • They didn’t have all the facts like you.
  • Their perception of the relationship isn’t as advanced as yours.
  • It was their laziness, lack of oversize, or wavering commitment.
  • They were the problem because they were somehow not coming to the same conclusion as you were.

We have been taught to assume a negative intention from others. It’s part of our all too unfortunate cultural conditioning.

Sometimes we want to assume that people do good things for the right reasons but bad things for the wrong reasons.

But what if there were a different way? A better way? What if we could discover that this was a faulty assumption?

What if we can re-see that people do the wrong things, sometimes, for a good intention?

A person who steals bread desires to eat. While we may not condone the activity, we can accept their desire to not starve.

It’s an extreme example, but what about everyday scenarios?

What if your spouse is just as committed to raising healthy, well-adjusted children but has a different perspective?
What if that guy in finance that always seems to criticize is actually just as committed to the growth and success of the business as you are?

How might your situation change if you see that other person as having the same end goal in as you?

It assumes positive intent. It provides grace. It gives others the benefit of the doubt.

By shifting our perspective, and assuming positive intent we create an opportunity. We now have an opportunity to re-see the other person and work towards a holistic solution. We can engage them as a person, not a task or an objective to be completed, and work towards not just an answer but a better them. We can find perviously unknown common ground that can shape and enhance the situation for all parties.

How can we lead and live with positive intent?

Living with Positive Intent isn’t hard, but it does require focus and intentionality.

Here are three ways to start living with Positive Intent.

1.) Ask Questions. Our natural response is to start making statements. Don’t. That means we have assumptions. We’ve already started to judge their motives or desires. Instead, take a step back and ask questions:

  • How do you see it? Questions
  • What is your desire for the resolution?
  • What makes this important for you?
  • How do you understand the problem?

By asking questions, we are forced to see the situation from their perspective. This allows us to not just assume what they want, need, desire, or believe; but we can actually see and understand it from their perspective.

2.) Brainstorm. Too often we settle into the “obvious solution” way too early. We get an idea and we run with it, whether we’ve fully explored the implications or not. Instead, set a timer for twenty minutes and brainstorm solutions.

  • Can you now see their point of view better?
  • What new ideas emerged?
  • How do these new ideas challenge your previous assumptions or beliefs?
  • What new information has emerged?
  • What is different because of this?
  • How does this change the outcome?

By spending intentional time in brainstorming mode, we allow the creative part of our brain to take over. When there is space for an answer to be neither right nor wrong, we can expand our understanding and perception of the problem and find a solution that works better for everyone.

3.) Find new ways to build trust and rapport. You know what doesn’t work in conflict? Shouting louder and arguing more. What does work? Carefully chosen speech through loving and constructive dialogue.

  • What activities do they enjoy that you could do together?
  • How can you build greater levels of communication?
  • How can small talk ease the tension in this room?
  • What’s their favorite kind of coffee? (The truth is that very few situations can’t be made better by coffee, start here!)

Often in conflict we want to resort to sticking our heels in the ground and not budging. This is not only poor leadership, but leaves us emotionally and physically exhausted. Instead, work to break the tension by building greater levels of trust and rapport.

Assuming Positive Intent will change the way you approach problems, solutions, groups, and success. If you want to take your life or your business to the next level, start by asking questions, brainstorming new solutions, and building trust with others. Your hard work will pay off in big ways.


Assuming Positive Intent gives us freedom to grow, change, and admit that we don’t know it all. It takes and builds humility, trust, collaboration, and success.  If you or your organization could benefit from growing in Positive Intent, fill out this form to schedule a free coaching call. I can help you break through the stuck areas of your life and find growth and transformation. I’m also currently offering a special holiday savings package for groups and business that want coaching and group training.

Don’t stay stuck. Experience Transformation.

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Justin Hiebert

Coach - Change Catalyst - Speaker at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I'm here to help you break free of the stuck areas in your life. As a coaching catalyst, I'll help you discover your Life Purpose, live with greater passion, and develop clarity. I specialize in leadership development, holistic health, burnout, and relationships. I frequently write, speak, and teach in these areas, and would love to help you however I can. Outside of work, I love my wife, children, and the great outdoors. I can frequently be found reading a book or riding motorcycles.

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