“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou
When we talk about purpose driven leadership, it is about prioritizing purpose over profit and greatness over growth. Business leader today will not be judged by market capitalization or share value but by the impact they have on the society. Today, the world is frequently dealing with rapid changes and complex challenges. To survive and excel in this new, volatile environment the tenets of good and purpose led Leadership are needed more than any other time.
It’s increasingly about finding a balance between humane aspects and automation; shifting perspective, tone and treatment to increase empathy and effectiveness at the same time creating a success story for business. They realize that they have to take more responsibility for shaping the environment in which they and everyone else can prosper. In my view, a way to go about this is Higher Purpose. The bed rock of Higher Purpose is living the values which organisation have outlined. Leaders need to be totally bought into this.
Leaders need to know the ‘Why’ of their lives. Once they know why they do something, they would have discovered – what is their purpose.
‘Why what we do matters’, ‘what is expected of us’, ‘why I must be proud of being here’, and ‘why anyone should be led by me’, are questions that should be constantly thought about, especially at the mid-level. As a result, by the time they reach the top levels of leadership, the concepts of authentic leadership and identity would have been formed.
The Authentic Leader
Leaders need to be authentic and work in the service of others. When they have the attitude of being in service of others – they don’t use others for their own purpose rather they let others use them for their purpose. “Truly effective and inspiring Leaders aren’t actually driven to lead; people; they are there to serve people” Simon Sinek
What makes people rise to the occasion and become heroes?
It is a sense of purpose.
Let’s take examples of Mandela, Gandhi, Lincoln. The very essence of their leadership is not in “what” that they did, but “why” they did it. What drove Jamshetji Tata to being the greatest philanthropist in the last 100 years? And why is it that the Wright brothers were able to figure out controlled, powered man flight when there were certainly other teams who were better qualified, better funded. Why didn’t Doctors and the Medical Professionals during the Covid crisis bother when sun rose or set. For them Life was about saving as many lives as possible…and celebrating LIFE. There’s something else at play here. It is a purpose driven leadership working for the greater good of mankind.
Instilling the sense of purpose consists of several cogs that run together. While individuals at these levels are mostly acquainted with the concept of purpose, aligning their purposes with that of the organisation must be persistent. Fostering pride will help ignite the identity of the workplace. Making them aware of how their work complements the greater whole comes next.
Helping others to discover their purpose includes sharing their own purpose while at the same time “listening” and embracing the purpose of others.
Leaders who are determined to make a positive difference in others’ lives build successful and vibrant organisations. They understand that it is both a moral obligation and in the self-interest of the business to share values and build long term sustainable relationships even if they feel they are losing in near term. Higher Purpose in my view is your Capital Account while your job and salary is your Current Account.
“The businesses that aspire to a higher purpose will outperform businesses that focus on the bottom line. People aspire to be part of something bigger than themselves. Give them something to align with to create a sense of belonging. Give them something to talk about. Give them a reason to share experiences.” – Brian Solis
The world today needs leaders who follow a moral compass that points in the right direction.
Views are personal. The author, Richard Rekhy, former CEO , KPMG India and Board member KPMG Dubai also an esteemed jury member on the SABERA 2021 Jury Board. You may also like his article Ageing in the 21st Century by Mathew Cherian also on the SABERA 2021 jury
SABERA helps amplify Responsible Leadership and voices committed to GOOD.