Leadership and the Importance of Purpose and Vision
At Beyond the Barriers we offer opportunities for leaders and their teams to explore their potential as leaders and what they believe they need to change to provide more inspiration, trust and loyalty from their ‘followers’.
What is your ‘Why’?
For the last 5 years we have been working with leaders to help them understand their ‘Why’, a concept proposed by Simon Sinek most recently in his book ‘It Starts with Why’ (Sinek’s Ted Talk on this is inspiring!) We believe this concept will become increasingly important for leaders as they respond to the make-up and needs of the global workforce.
At the start of this new decade, millennials and Gen Z will make-up 60% of the global workforce and by 2025 Deloitte predicts 75% of the workforce will be millennials. Leaders therefore will need to be able to tap into this particular talent pool who above all are motivated by more than a pay cheque – it’s about doing something worthwhile, having a clear purpose and being able to commit to something that has a broader meaning. Not only do organisations need to be more clear and ‘out there’ about their company’s purpose and vision, but leaders also need to be clear what their personal purpose and vision is so followers know who they are following and what they can rely on their leaders for. Purpose is defined as ‘why you choose to exist’, beyond financial gain, and vision is a description of ‘the difference you will create in others’ lives’ when you realise your purpose.
These are questions most of us do not consciously spend time thinking about, it requires leaders to spend time really thinking about who they are and what is important to them so they know from where they are leading and what and how their leadership can be defined.
Identifying core values
In order to get clarity on their purpose and vision we invite leaders to take part in various activities, such as identifying their 2 core values and defining exactly what those values look like regarding behaviour so they are able to share those with peers and team members. This way others know what to expect from them. We invite them to share stories of their past that they believe represent significant moments in their life and to identify themes that emerge from those that will enlighten them on their vision.
Get comfortable showing vulnerability
The process requires leaders to become comfortable with showing vulnerability and to accept themselves for who they are rather than who they are trying to be – successful leadership is about our ability to show compassion and understanding towards ourselves and others, to show humility and to be brave enough to be authentic.
Creating a deeper understanding of themselves as leaders provides them with a confidence to be able to express who they are and can go some way in managing their egos that can sometimes get in the way of leading others in a way that engenders trust and loyalty. It allows them to be brave enough to hold discussions about boundaries and expectations, to offer feedback to others about their performance in a way that is perceived by others as helpful rather than criticism, it allows them to show they are open to influence so others feel they are being listened to – all of which will go some way to appealing to the needs of both our current and future workforce.
Published: Thursday 9 January
Written by: Hilary Coldicott, Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach