Many leaders are driven by the money mindset which is fueled by fear, security and scarcity. It is motivated by an urge to play it safe and not take risks or make a mistake. Let’s face it no one has ever changed the world or struck it rich by playing safe. Purpose-driven leaders know that letting fear guide their decisions blocks their ability to stay true to their personal and business purpose. Instead, they view fear as a sign that they are operating in their purpose and challenging themselves to do things that are crucial in the world and their organization.
If most of your decisions are centered on making money, containing costs and staying on budget, you’re falling prey to this fear-driven mindset. If all you are concerned about is, “Can we afford it?” you’re selling yourself and your company short. You’re asking..”How?”. Traditional management 101 teaches that focusing on budgets and profits is good business practice. But, great management does not always mean GREAT LEADERSHIP.
Great Leaders stay focused on where they want to go and how they want to make a difference in the world. With their purpose in mind, they are able to confront their fears and take strategic risks to do the things they “can’t afford” in the short term. They are aware that, in the long term, they can’t afford not to make the investment. Whether investing in infrastructure, people or ideas, purpose-driven leaders focus first on whether the investment is going to help them fulfill their company’s purpose. But don’t get it twisted, they definitely do consider the profitability of the investment and how to fit it into the budget—they just don’t start there.
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A purpose driven leader above all must possess self- awareness. In leadership, self-awareness is defined as an understanding of how your personality traits , habits and abilities affect your relationships and interactions with those around you. A self-aware leader is one who reflects on how their words and actions are perceived by others and work to change any deficits so they can be more effective leading their team. Self-awareness leads to personal control and growth which allows leaders to utilize all their strengths to guide their team to the most optimal outcome.
Why is self-awareness important?? Self-awareness is important because self-aware leaders make better decisions and are mindful of how their leadership impacts future outcomes for their organization. It allows leaders to more realistic in their expectations. Self-aware leaders understand how to balance what they want their team to accomplish with the creative vision they have for the group. Most importantly, self-aware leaders understand what they bring to their role. They have an in-depth understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, skills, knowledge, and personality traits which helps them to better perform within an organization.
Tackling who you are as a person is a very eye opening and daunting experience. In my life, there have been many occasions where I had to self reflect, evaluate who I was, and what I wanted and needed to be fulfilled. Then, I had to be courageous enough to make it happen….trusting myself and my judgement. Along the way, I received needed feedback from trusted friends and colleagues which helped me see my strengths and weaknesses better. It helped me gain some insight and make necessary changes.
Developing self-awareness might feel uncomfortable at first as you get used to actively seeking critical feedback and viewing yourself from an objective standpoint. However, the impact it can have on your professional relationships and the productivity of your team is undeniable. It is a lifelong process and it never ends. So, be patient with yourself and embrace the process.
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Are you leading work that you love in an organization you care about with people you enjoy?? If you are, then you have some idea of the power of purposeful leadership. Leading with purpose channels enthusiasm and zeal into an intense energy and drive. The leaders with purpose stay focused and committed which is extremely important in a world full of obstacles and challenges….Like a pandemic, or in the face of competition that threatens to dismantle your organization.
I faced such challenges over the past two years and had to refocus and rethink my leadership approach and find a purpose to drive and sustain the organization. I had to figure out a way to improve the team members experience in ways that respected the individual differences-home lives, skills and capabilities, mindsets, personal characteristics, and other factors. I was able to implement new strategies in listening, empathetic leadership, two-way communication channels and can now address team members experience in a more targeted and dynamic way. This all starts with effective purpose driven leadership.
When you lead with purpose in any environment, you radiate energy and passion for the work. It inspires and motivates others. These leaders attract talent to their teams and inspire achievement even beyond what is thought possible. Do you want to know what it takes to be a purpose driven leader?? Follow me, Dr. D, as I explain how to transform yourself into a purpose driven leader.
“There’s no luck in business. There’s only drive, determination, and more drive”–Sophie Kinsella
Drive and Determination….the D-squared combination that all successful purpose-driven leaders must possess. Drive is the innate urge to accomplish a goal or to fulfill a need. As leaders, we rely on the drive in ourselves, our team members, and our organization to achieve success. The drive of the leader has the most influence because the leader as an individual affects both the team and organizational culture. Determination is a positive emotional feeling that involves persevering towards a difficult goal in spite of obstacles. Determination occurs prior to goal attainment and serves to motivate behavior that will help achieve one’s goal
A leader that lacks the drive and determination to do something influences others to do the same. The lack of drive and determination permeates the atmosphere within an organization. This do-nothing attitude starts at the top with an unmotivated leader and ends with an under achieving lackluster team. We all have been team members and heard someone voice , ” I don’t see the boss down here doing it or caring. So why should I?”. This is the mentality of a team led by an unmotivated leader. I myself have been on a team where the leader lost their motivation and drive. It caused me to become disengaged and not inspired to go the extra mile. One starts to just do the bare minimum to satisfy the basic requirements. But remember, successful people are never BASIC.
Just as being basic is infectious, high drive with an emphasis on teamwork is very contagious. If you couple the drive with a positive attitude and add in a strong motivation to reach goals (aka Determination), the team will become energized and push forward together towards success. If a leader is working hard and staying positive , the team will do the same.
So, how does a leader increase his/her personal drive and determination?? Here are a few suggestions:
- Identify what’s impeding your drive and determination. Perhaps, a leader is overwhelmed and overworked and feeling burnout. Maybe, priorities have shifted. It is important that the leader identifies the issues in order to the make the necessary changes to rejuvenate his/her drive and determination.
- Focus on your purpose. Leaders can get bombarded and weighed down by the day-to-day issues and forget the “why” or the purpose. In order to remain positive and driven, a leader has to focus on the “why’” or purpose. This represents the beacon of hope that keeps the leader grounded and inspired. If you don’t know your purpose, devise it and live by it.
- Ask for advice from a trusted mentor . Whenever feeling lackluster and unmotivated as a leader, seek the advice and guidance from a mentor who has faced similar challenges. Inquire how to get out of your hole before your team and organization are affected.
Successful purpose-driven leaders have to be proactive in maintaining their drive and determination. They have to be very aware of and understand the impact they have on their organization. Successful leaders must keep their purpose first in all they do and exemplify D-squared (drive and determination) to all of their team members. The result is an invigorated driven leader and an energetic team……the equation for SUCCESS!
DON’T BE BASIC!!!
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“Your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.” –Michelle Obama
What is it that makes us want to follow an effective and inspiring leader?? What trait sets that leader apart from the rest?? We have discussed several leadership traits including self-awareness, agility, fearlessness, grit, and resilience. But there is one characteristic which transcends the rest. It’s what sets strong leaders apart from their colleagues.
That trait is CONFIDENCE!
Without confidence, your leadership is dead. Without confidence, your team will try to usurp and undermine your position because you lack the mindset it takes to lead an organization. Confidence is the foundation of leadership. You can teach a leader to be an effective problem solver; a better communicator; more decisive and many other fundamentals of leadership. Yet, without the leader first believing in himself or herself, they will never truly lead. Self-confidence is the foundation upon which leadership is built. An organization built upon a leader who lacks self-confidence is like building a house on a foundation of sand. The structure will ultimately crumble.
Let’s face it, a humble confident leader is admired by people. People tend to trust them more and believe they are more competent. This makes people want to follow and work with and for this type of leader.
A confident leader will typically:
- Be Happier: they have a can-do attitude and are very positive about their ability to lead people and handle challenges.
- Have better relationships: They feel good about themselves and thus enter positive relationships. They tend to treat people well and are in return treated well.
- Laugh More: They can laugh at situations and see the humor in life and even difficult situations. They can put things into perspective.
- Be motivated and ambitious: a confident leader is highly motivated to set goals and achieve them. The believe in their work and believe in their purpose.
- Take risks: Confident leaders do not play it safe. They take calculated risks and are willing to learn from their mistakes.
- Accept feedback: They are receptive to feedback and are willing to adjust. People feel comfortable coming to them with ideas for improvement, helping the leader to continue to grow and improve.
- Think for themselves: A confident leader has strong core values and will pick their own course of action. They are easy to follow because their words and actions are consistent and aligned.
Remember, confidence separates mediocre leaders from exceptional leaders. Without confidence, one will find it hard to make difficult decisions, lead with authority, get people to communicate or to be open to feedback. Without confidence, no one will believe in you … because you don’t believe in yourself.
So, stand up tall, chin up, and smile. Radiate confidence in all your interactions. When people feel your confidence, they will trust you and be more willing to invest their time, energy and loyalty to ensure the success of your team and organization.
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Relationships in any organization are critical to the success of the overall business. Building strong work relationships will help any leader learn new skills and also aid in the application and development of their current skills. Relationship building skills include a combination of different soft skills which can contribute to the way one interacts with others. The following skills are central to developing successful relationship building skills:
- Interpersonal skills
- Non-verbal communication skills
- Verbal communication skills
- Listening skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Networking skills
- Team-building skills
To forge successful and strong work relationships, a leader must possess effective interpersonal skills. Relationships are people-centered and it is very important to be able to understand and respect another person’s perspective.
Non-verbal communication skills
Learning how to read body language and non-verbal cues can help leaders to pick up on people’s emotions. This skill can definitely have an impact on how one builds relationships.
Verbal communication skills
Verbal communication can show that a leader is interested and open to hearing their teams concerns and ideas. The ability to communicate verbally is essential to build strong relationships.
Active listening is an essential part of communication. Developing active listening skills can be more important than learning how to speak in a meeting. This skill encompasses making eye contact, being aware of non-verbal cues and asking questions that show your concern and engagement in the conversation.
Having empathy means that the leader seeks to understand others feelings and emotions. This is another key aspect of effective relationship building. When a leader displays empathy, it show his/her team that they are dedicated to maintaining work relationships. This build trust and mutual respect.
Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. A leader who possesses this skill can observe the dynamics in the office and find ways to contribute to the team to help solve conflict and work from a place of understanding.
Networking skills encompasses building successful relationships, offering assistance, and exchanging ideas with other business professionals. This allow leaders to increase their reach and it develops lasting relationships that can aid in the success of an organization.
Team-building skills enable a leader to help individual team members invest and work in a cohesive group that shares both a purpose and achievements. In an effective team, every member feels that their input is valued and that they have influence when creating goals and developing plans for accomplishing them.
Human beings are naturally social creatures. Considering that we spend one-third of our lives at work, good relationships make the workplace more enjoyable. A leader that possesses exceptional relationship skills builds a team that is comfortable with one another, confident voicing opinions/ ideas and going along with new ideas. When the team sees the successes of working together in this way, group morale and productivity soars. This equals success for team, the leader and the organization.
What have you done to improve your relationship building skills??
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What is the most agile animal on land? When asked this question, immediately one would think the cheetah. Surely, a cheetah, which can run up 70 mph, would qualify as the most agile. Much to my surprise the most agile animal on land is the galago (also known as “bush babies”). I know! What is that?? Well a galago is a nocturnal primate that spends a lot of its time in the trees. Along with their big eyes, which help them see in low light, these animals are super jumpers. They have very powerful back legs and a long tail which allows them to jump more than 8 feet from one point to the next. The galago is about 5 to 9 inches tall and weighs less than a pound..yet, it is the most agile land animal. So, what does agility have to do with leadership??
Just like the galago, leaders have to be agile. Leadership agility is defined as the ability to effectively lead organizational change, build teams, and navigate challenging business issues. The agile leader has the ability and intellectual acuity to assess risk, decide courageously, and act quickly in a dynamic environment while producing results. They also aid in the development of other’s capacity to do the same.
There are five key drivers of agile leadership. These five drivers are:
Integrity, Innovation, Urgency, Engagement and Direction.
- Integrity: This is the foundation of an agile leader. Their actions are driven by values and principles which makes this leader reliable and trustworthy. In order to have/develop integrity, a leader must possess self awareness and accountability.
- Innovation: Agile leaders are naturally inquisitive about the world around them and encourage new ideas and promote a learning environment. They represent a facilitative leadership style and are willing to challenge the status quo to bring about change.
- Urgency: Agile leaders possess a sense of urgency and focus which allows them to establish goals. They make decisions quickly without all the formalized hierarchal format. They encourage a more cross-functional self organizing team approach. These leaders keep the company moving forward.
- Engagement: Agile leaders are inclusive across all groups with an organization and promote engagement among all team members. They reach out and across and down the complex divisions of an organization and encourage collaboration to generate superior performance.
- Direction: Leaders who are agile create direction for the organization. They are able to coordinate and facilitate collaboration among the people in their organization which facilitates its ability to succeed.
Agile leaders create an agile culture which is centered around organizational values. If you want an organization that has a high performing and engaged work group which is aligned with your purpose, values, vision and plans…be an agile leader.
Please be a galago and not a SLOTH! Like, comment and share below if you agree.
Every leader knows storms will come. No matter how successful an organization, there will come a situation that rocks the business to the core. It may be a pandemic, a ruthless competitor or poor business performance. Hard times are inevitable and a part of life. The question is not if..but when will the storms come. So, what differentiates a purpose-driven leader from the rest?? I call it the G+R or the grit and resilience.
Grit and resilience are two important traits of a purpose-driven leader. Webster’s dictionary defines grit (when referring to behavior) as “firmness of character; indomitable spirit”. Others have defined it as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” A gritty leader has courage and is not afraid to tank. They embrace fear as part of the process. They understand that there is a valuable lesson in the struggle or the defeat. They realize that the vulnerability of perseverance is mandatory for high achievement and excellence. As a result, they hunker down and orchestrate their game plan. They realize it is not going to be a sprint.. it will be a marathon and they maintain their tenacity for the long-haul.
The word resilience originates from the Latin verb resilire meaning “to leap back” or “to recoil”. In Webster’s dictionary it is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties”. Resilience is the quality of being able to adapt to stressful life changes and “bouncing back” from hardship. Resilience is a response to tragedy, crisis, or other life-altering changes that allows us to move on despite the difficulty. Showing resilience does not mean that a person is unaffected or uncaring about the life change. Resilience is the human heart’s ability to suffer greatly and grow from it.
Resilient people thrive under pressure and make the best of any circumstances thrown their way. When purpose-driven leaders demonstrate resilience, they show people around them what they are capable of despite adversity and set-backs. This causes their team members to trust in them and creates a belief that together they can conquer any challenges thrown their way.
Leaders who couple grit with resilience are capable of providing consistent effort toward a goal with the ability to bounce back after a failure or struggle…with excellence as the end result. Thus, the winning equation for a purpose-driven leader is G+R=SUCCESS!
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