“If you seek to lead, invest at least 50 percent of your time in leading yourself–your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct.” – Dee Hock
If you are asked what your purpose as a leader is, would you reply with, “To lead?” Probably not.
In fact, if you ask any great leader what their purpose is, they will likely describe to you not what they DO, but how they LEAD.
Every position of leadership asks different things from its leaders, and it’s a leader’s job to answer to them effectively. A leader’s purpose is more than just leading. Realistically, purpose varies from leader to leader and discovering your own purpose is one of the essential elements of effective leading.
And leading with purpose does have its benefits. After all, medical experts have noted that having a purpose contributes to living a longer, healthier life. On top of all that, leading with a purpose promotes the success of those you lead. But, understanding you need to lead with purpose and knowing what your purpose is are two entirely different things.
So, how do you go about discovering your leadership purpose?
It starts with identifying and understanding your values.
When you lead a team, your purpose in leading is living up to the values you hold for yourself, your business, and your team. As a leader, knowing what you VALUE is critical if you want to lead with purpose, so begin by writing down what you value, and you’re likely to discover things about yourself in the process.
Everyone’s career value list will be different, but let’s pretend yours looks something like this:
- Open communication
Keep a list of your values nearby to remind you why you do what you do. Once you have established these values, it’s time to come up with a purpose that lives up to these values and ensures they’re satisfied.
Maybe the leadership purpose you come up with is, “To compel excellence.”
By defining this purpose and applying it to the values you’ve outlined, you can make sure your purpose has you set up to be a superb leader.
When you compel excellence in your team (and in yourself), you are meeting your list of values by:
A) helping establish a peaceful work environment where everyone does their part and is sensitive to the needs and communication styles of others,
B) making sure communication between team members and with leaders is open and direct, including having difficult conversations in a timely manner and,
C) ensuring your team has been given all the tools they need to be successful, reducing the need for micromanagement.
By outlining your values and defining your leadership purpose, you can lead in a more authentic way…and your team will thank you for it!
Have you defined your purpose as a leader? How about your values? Join the conversation by commenting below!