We are judged by our actions, not our intentions.
We carry a constant stream of intent. The majority of this intent is not communicated through our actions. With each act we send signals to the world; some of them positive, some of them negative.
When I see someone be rude, I assume that they are rude. When I see someone arrive late, I make judgements about their timeliness. When I read an email I don’t like, I immediately classify the sender’s professionalism, character and leadership ability. They are awarded zero points for intent.
We assume intent through action. Actions are everything. How we interact with each other, how we read into small things and make them into big things. We are constantly trying to weigh and measure the people around. Action, tone, body language and timing all contribute to how the world sees us.
It makes communication - as it always is - risky. How one navigates this path is where leaders can thrive or fail because their actions are louder. They resonate.
Controlling how our intent is communicated is not possible. Being aware however, is possible. Be aware of your intent juxtaposed to your actions. The two can be drastically out of sync at times. I find myself in that position just as much as the next guy. But being aware of it allows me to backup, slow down and act with my true intention.