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The Fundamentals of Purpose-Driven Leadership
“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
We might also say that the key to work performance and successful leadership lies not in getting that “20 percent increase in market share,” but in finding a higher purpose in what we and our teams do.
Are we making life easier for people? Are we building something for the ages? The greatest mind-hack in life is for the lowliest construction helper to recognize himself as the builder of cathedrals that he indeed is.
“The two most important days of a man’s life are the day on which he was born and the day on which he discovers why he was born.” – Ernest T Campbell
A purposeful leader successfully aligns his/her commitments with his/her purpose. The next step for this leadership style is to extend this exercise to the level of the team and then the organization.
Purpose-driven leadership is transformative leadership. Where the commitments of an organization meet its purpose, great things happen.
Finding your purpose is a very personal journey. As a leadership coach, I can help you discover your “why” and align it with your commitments. I can also give you a few general tips that can help you pull off this greatest mind-hack of all as you adopt this ideal leadership style.
- Learn what is important to you. Define your values.
- Align your commitments with your purpose.
- Find the core purpose of your team/organization.
- Do not allow the hijacking of your purpose.
- Focus on creating value for others.
- Meet failure with maturity.
What is important to you?
What excites you and brings you joy in life? What do you find rewarding in the present, without promises of future benefits? If you know the answer to those questions, you are close to identifying your purpose.
Activities aligned with your purpose energize you and expand your limits.
Aligning Commitments with Purpose
This is the most problematic tenet of this leadership style. Your purpose may not be compatible with your commitments. In that case, you need to find ways to make the alignment happen. Since you cannot change your purpose, you should alter your commitments.
Finding the Core Purpose of Your Team
Team purpose is as transformative for your organization as pursuing your purpose is for your life.
To find your team’s purpose, try to answer these questions:
- Why does your team exist?
- What kind of big difference can your team make?
- What are the peculiarities of your team?
Guarding Against Purpose-derailment
Do not adopt other people’s views as your purpose. See mentors, religious teachings, and personal development programs as tools that can help you discover your purpose. Do not expect them to hand you one.
Creating Value for Others
Pursuing your purpose is a form of self-expression that creates value for others. It cannot exist without this dimension.
Seeing “Failure” as Opportunity
For a purposeful and mature leader, what we traditionally see as “failure” does not exist. For such leaders, these unexpected outcomes and experiences are valuable stepping stones and opportunities for learning and growth.
Taking a look at some of the characteristics of purpose-driven leaders may also prove helpful for your purpose-mastery exercise.
- Motivation and determination
- A well-defined vision and mission
You will find that many of these characteristics coincide with the attributes of emotional intelligence I have described in my books. Emotional competence is an essential prerequisite of purposeful leadership.