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How to become a purpose-led leader?

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

You've probably heard that having a clear and authentic purpose pulls people together. It makes them more engaged, productive and committed, but it doesn't stop there. The ripple effect continues as energised people are happier and healthier which in turn benefits those around them - friends, family, colleagues, customers, suppliers, etc.

You might be thinking that's all well and good but you have your bottom line to worry about. I know that, but ponder these two stats: two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay more for purpose driven brands, and purpose as a purchasing factor has risen 26% globally since 2010.

The question is what can you do as a leader to inspire others and create purpose-led projects, teams, companies? I can't stress this enough, a leader is anyone who looks at the people around them and says 'I believe we can make things better, follow me'.

In her book Powered by Purpose, Sarah Rozenthuler outlines four core capabilities of purpose-led leadership:

  • Cultivate leadership presence - to be able to inspire those around you, you need to be in touch with the reality of the present moment and the sense of confidence about future direction. This awareness will let you deal with inner obstacles and bring an ease to your interactions.

  • Make dialogue authentic - tensions around purpose and/vs profit are inevitable. You need to listen actively and be prepared to ask critical questions and name some hard truths that need to be addressed, but remain open to challenge and discern what is needed to achieve balance.

  • Engage your stakeholders - you need to connect with a wide set of stakeholders to see the larger system you are part of. It will enable you to articulate a compelling purpose that engages and energises your team.

  • Connect on purpose - encouraging everyone to pull in the same direction requires collaboration. By identifying pressure points that impede day-to-day interactions, you will disable silos and allow positive energy to flow through the team. It also involves supporting each team member to see the connection between their individual purpose and the shared purpose. Connecting all these together will enable you to bring your whole self to work, unlock the potential of the system and create whole outcomes.

If this whets your appetite and fires you up to learn more about purpose, I can't recommend Sarah's book enough.

I've recently had a fascinating discussion with Sarah on we got this. We enjoyed ourselves so much, we lost track of time so it will be another two parter.

Purpose questing - part 1

Part 1 of 2 of my conversation with Sarah where we cover how to find your purpose and not give in to the expectations of others as well as why we don't reflect on who we are until our late 20s. Part 2 coming August 4th

A bit about Sarah

Sarah is a chartered psychologist, leadership consultant and dialogue coach. She founded Bridgework Consulting in 2007 to inspire leaders and strengthen organisations to become a force for good in the world. Sarah’s work has been widely featured in the media including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Psychologies Magazine and BBC Business online.


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