As the leader of your team, you must clearly understand and be able to pass on the purpose of your organization and your team’s role within that organization. If you don’t know the purpose of your efforts, you certainly won’t be able to inspire your team to success.
When I travel and speak at companies or special events, I make sure leaders understand how important this issue is. Communicating purpose will take more than requiring your team to memorize the company mission statement, however. It must become part of the culture of what everyone in your organization thinks about, says, and does each day. It will influence decisions made at the top and choices made by the “lowliest” employee.
Keep your own sense of purpose honed and sharp. You are the leader. Keep that big picture in mind and know exactly where you are and where you are going. Communicate your enthusiasm and dedication. Carry everyone else along with you. It will take energy and effort, but no one said that being a leader was easy.
Grow together. At times, it may seem that everyone has a different purpose, and that paths are diverging. Make sure that everyone sees the way back to the common goal, and that the impact their work will have on it is clear to them. It is as if each team member must make a brick, ensuring that it is strong and free from flaws, and then firmly set it in place, among others, so that the next course can rest safely upon it.
Friday is a great time to bring your team together and review the week. You can also discuss the one to come, and end the working day with a sense of triumph, feeling united, energized and eager for what lies ahead.
I’m a runner, I know how my legs ache halfway through a race, and at work my head often hurts at some point during a week. It is purpose that carries tired limbs and overburdened minds on until a second wind comes and that tape is in view. Purpose fathers that final burst of energy that carries your team over the line, with the broken tape fluttering at their feet. Purpose paves the way to victory.
“Good leaders,” it’s been said, “create an organization with a purpose that rises above the bottom line; great leaders go a step further, finding ways to leverage the passion of each employee in order to create incentives that transcend financial rewards.”
What does this statement mean? I think it’s saying that to be an exceptional leader, you must discover ways to link the passions of each individual on your team with the purposes of your organization. You may have to find ways to do this that go beyond traditional methods.
As you get to know your team, you’ll discover more about their individual desires and goals and how they define their purpose in life. It may be based on their family values, faith, or recent experiences. Pay attention to these clues! The more you can find common ground between your organization’s goals and purposes and the individual goals and purposes of each member of your team, the more effective and happy they will be on the job.
You won’t regret making purpose a priority.
Jeremy Kingsley is a professional speaker, best-selling author, and the President of OneLife Leadership. Jeremy holds bachelors and masters degrees from Columbia International University. He is the author of four books, his latest is titled: Inspired People Produce Results (McGraw Hill 2013). Jeremy lives in Columbia, South Carolina with his wife and two sons.