The Purposeful Leader is someone who is secure and confident in who they are, competent with a servant-heart in what they do; and acts as a catalyst to spur others into future possibilities. We continue our Purposeful Leadership Series where the Confident Leader implements, the Competent Leader influences, the Compelling Leader inspires, the Catalytic Leader impels and the Committed Leader impacts. This is our final instalment of the Purposeful Leadership series.
The Committed Leader understands the purpose of leadership - that is to reproduce leaders, not followers. Not only do they multiply (reproduce) leaders, Committed Leaders bring leadership impact in a sustainable and scalable way by influencing the heart, mind and hands.
Influencing the Heart
Influencing the heart is about leading with conviction. You can only lead with conviction if you have purpose. Purpose tells you why you are leading. Your motives and intentions are made clear when you lead with purpose. Contrast that with someone leading because of a position. John Maxwell refers to this as the lowest level of leadership - people follow you because of the role (position) you occupy.
To lead with conviction, Committed Leaders place their focus on people and not power. Committed Leaders value people and seek to add value to people instead of gravitating their focus towards power and the need to have resources (people) under their command and control. Unfortunately, we have seen how destructive power hungry leaders can have on the lives of people and the organisation they lead.
To influence the heart is to lead with conviction, and to do that, Committed Leaders seek to “give” (proffer) instead of “get”. The element of greed often is linked to the purse (financial gains). When leaders are driven by what they can “get”, they make compromises and deviate from their purpose. Committed Leaders are there to offer their knowledge, skills and experience to build people. While young Harvard graduates may possess a brilliant mind, they may lack experience in applying what they have learned. Committed Leaders act as an accelerant by combining the knowledge and experience - wisdom to know how to apply knowledge.
Influencing the Mind
Influencing the mind is about leading with clarity. To influence with clarity leaders must firstly have vision. Vision speaks of where you are going. If you do not know where you are going, you are in no position to lead others - for your own sake (and the sake of others), the blind cannot lead the blind. You will need someone with vision to lead.
To influence the mind and lead with impact, Committed Leaders must have clear values. Leaders who are clear about values don’t expose themselves unnecessarily to temptations that make them vulnerable. Values serve as guardrails as leaders draw clear boundaries and stay clear of such distractions. Values allow leaders to have honest introspective conversations that enable them to course correct at the slightest of deviation.
Vision combined with values make it possible to influence the mind with velocity. In our VUCA world today, speed is (almost) everything. Velocity / speed enables us to buy time. In marathon running, this concept is known as “bank-in” time - where the runner runs the first half of the race faster knowing that they have fresher legs. This allows some buffer time later in the race when their bodies get tired and legs get heavier. With vision and values, we can “bank-in” time that is needed in the future when faced with challenges and uncertainties. Vision and values is also something that is within our sphere of control - we can predetermine that without having to rely on our surroundings.
Influencing the Hands
Influencing the hands is to lead with competence. If a leader is to bring impact, one of the fundamental skills they must have is to be able to prioritise. With the wealth of knowledge and experience, together with limited resources available, the Committed Leader must decide the next move. As simple as it sounds, the next move is critical to ensuring sustainability and scalability - in other words, can we do this repeatedly and bring transformative change (positive impact). Sadly, often the focus is on the “urgent” rather than the “important”. It’s not either or, but both - hence, sustainable and scalable efforts.
Committed Leaders demonstrate competence through problem solving. They show the way by removing obstacles and making the path smoother (not necessarily easier). Instead of playing the gatekeeper, Committed Leaders problem solve not just on their own, but draws from the diversity of the team. They bring their own insights and tap on the potential of others to derive innovative solutions. Their ultimate goal is not to take credit, but to address the issue that is in the way of the desired outcome.
Committed Leaders lead with competence by bringing positive change. Henry Ford started the Ford Motor Company in 1903 and brought significant changes to the industry and treatment of employees. Taking the inspiration from a meat-packing plant, he applied the same principle to car production. Ford was also seen as a leader who valued his employees - by paying them a generous salary of $5 a day in 1914 (which is about $150 today). Not only did this change how companies treated their employees, but it also gave rise to a new generation of middle income earners. Ford was quoted as saying, “If the floor sweeper’s heart is in his job, he can save us five dollars a day by picking up small tools instead of sweeping them out”.
Listen : Raise Your Game: Henry Ford And Mass Consumerism - New Leadership Lessons
The Committed Leader understands the purpose of leadership is to reproduce leaders, not followers. They understand leadership development is a journey that is inclusive and we can all begin our journey from where we are. It is a journey, and therefore must be scalable and sustainable - after all, it is a process, not an event.
I urge you to be the Purposeful Leader. A leader who is confident and secure in your identity (that is found in your purpose, values and vision); competent in what you do with the desire to serve others around you, spurring others to be a better version of themselves and eventually reproducing leaders.
Be the Purposeful Leader!
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