Purpose Driven Leadership
"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." - Mark Twain
You know those leaders who you follow not because of what they say, what they ask or expect of you to, but just because you have a sense that you need to follow them, that you should. You trust them, they inspire you not necessarily in grand ways, often in really subtle and quiet ways. These people are purpose driven leaders.
In this way, purpose is someone's sense of resolve or determination towards something, leaders with purpose move towards things, not away from them. In the world of small to medium sized businesses, rather than corporate giants, it's about aligning your leadership to the vision and values of the organisation, it's passionately pursuing something greater than this months sales targets, bigger than the short term goals. In fact those goals and targets, when set well, are put in place as markers to help you move towards your purpose.
So how do we identify our purpose driven leaders? Or if we are looking to develop our own leadership skills to become more purpose driven, what are the characteristics common amongst purpose driven leaders?
These leaders are very aware of themselves, their strengths, weaknesses, areas of genius, how they operate and most significantly what is important to them, what fuels them and what leaves them drained.
Purpose Based Action
Purpose driven leaders take action and make decision based on their core purpose. With every decision they are faced with they use the compass of will this move me closer to the bigger purpose, or how can we achieve this and move towards and not away from the purpose. Their decisions are made through the lens of the purpose, rather than in the now and short sighted.
Strong leaders who strive towards purpose understand that the best way to get there is with others working towards the same objective, rather than flying solo. To that end they have exceptional skills in building strong relationships, communicating and engaging others in the vision and purpose, and inspiring them to actively and willingly pursue the purpose.
Drive and Determination
It goes without saying that to be a leader, whether intentionally or naturally, you must possess a certain level of drive and determination. Great things don't come to those who sit idle and wait for them to arrive, purpose driven leaders go out and chase, create and strive towards getting closer to the idealistic purpose they envisage.
Resilience and Grit
Author Angela Duckworth describes Grit as "a passion and sustained persistence applied towards long term achievement with no particular concern for rewards and recognition along the way". Purpose driven leaders are typically gritty and resilient, because the path to purpose is not always smooth and straight, but they stay the course because they have such a strong belief towards their purpose.
Confidence and Positivity
This may sound a little odd, but there is a level of confidence, nor arrogance, but certainty that the path is right, the bigger picture is clear and whether attainable or not, there is a confidence that it's absolutely right to be striving for this future vision. These leaders are optimistic and see the positive in situations they experience.
You see people with vision, and purpose, who work tirelessly and passionately towards this with limited success. Purpose driven leaders on the other hand, are equally capable operationally, they understand the mechanisms of business and organisations, and are adept at leveraging this to help serve the purpose.
Vision with a Goal Orientation
As mentioned earlier, having goals does not mean that someone is leading with a finite mindset or without purpose. Rather, purpose driven leaders use goals as measuring sticks to help keep them and the organisation moving and tracking in the direction of and in line with the purpose.
Whether you naturally lead with purpose, or are looking to invest some energy into building this skill set, these characteristics provide great insight into some of the commonalities of purpose driven leadership.
If nothing else, by making all decisions and taking action through the lens of your purpose, your grater goal, your just cause, then your business will be immeasurably stronger for it. You'll attract the right people, retain the best talent and create an engaged culture of team members who will passionately pursue your purpose alongside you.
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