What is your purpose? Why are you doing this job?
These are key, fundamental questions as we ponder our roles as leaders. In the framework I use with leaders in their development, it’s the first step. As you grow in your leadership – honing your “Power of One,” this framework can help both you and those you are developing to stay on course:
Let’s start with Purpose. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Purpose as
- The reason why something is done or used: the aim or intention of something
- The feeling of being determined to do or achieve something
- The aim or goal of a person: what a person is trying to do, become, etc.
It is so important to start with Purpose. It is the reason we do what we do. It is also what gives us determination to keep going. And it also helps define what we want to become.
I’d like you to think about what your purpose is, by asking yourself these key questions:
- What do you intend to accomplish in your current role?
- What drives you?
- What do you want to achieve in the next 1 – 2 years?
- How does your current role align with your purpose?
- How is it out of alignment?
- What in your current role is helping you prepare for your next one?
- How could you alter your time and energy, even slightly, to align your current role with your purpose?
Here are some examples of Purpose:
- “I want to create a department that attracts the brightest and best so that we can make a significant contribution in changing this company.”
- “My purpose is to keep learning and this job helps me do that – I have to learn new things every day just to keep up and I love that!”
- “My job is to keep solving problems, get to the root of the issues, and reduce risk. This is where I excel.”
Sometimes purpose is short-term and practical:
“I just want to get my son through college – then I will re-evaluate.”
Knowing our purpose, and being able to communicate it, is important in building trust and confidence for a positive outcome and future. I encourage you to spend some time reflecting upon your purpose, and encouraging your team members to do it as well.
Helping Others Find Their Purpose
We can use these same questions in our conversations with those we are developing – direct reports, staff, mentees. I suggest that you look at the list above, think of the members your management team and/or staff, and choose key questions that would help each of them clarify their purpose. Perhaps you can even schedule times during this next month when you would have opportunities to do so.
When we create the environment for people to think about what brings meaning to their work and lives, we create a culture of trust and creativity. Enjoy!