Craig Smith (Group President and Managing Director) describes Pam as a true trailblazer and a beacon for the company and industry - “she creates a family environment, catapulting not just her own career, but thousands of others.” I have read many stories about how people are given opportunities to thrive and grow their career and there is always one thing in common - someone (organisation) acted as a catalyst and nudged them towards that opportunity that eventually launched their careers.
How do we become a purposeful leader? I believe we (people and organisations) need to do 3 key things - engage the core, equip the skills, and empower the spirit.
1. Engage the core
Engaging the core is about intentionally working on strengthening those muscles that hold the body together. By doing so, we enable the other parts of our muscles to move efficiently and effectively. Every athlete understands that a strong core allows swift and smooth movement of your arms and legs.
Similarly, every organisation must strengthen its core. Only by strengthening it can the people operate and deliver the expected results. The core could be the likes of purpose, values and vision; organisational culture, performance and development initiatives; and knowledge, skills and abilities for someone to be successful in the organisation. Regardless of what it is, leaders need to intentionally engage it and make it strong. If your core is weak, don’t expect optimal performance.
2. Equip the skills
Organisations must intentionally focus their efforts on equipping and upskilling its people. I don’t mean “training”. Far too often, “training” is nice to have - when I have the time and budget to do so, I’ll do it. People and organisations must rid themselves of this lackadaisical attitude and equip themselves with the relevant skills that will enable them to perform the role today.
Equipping is about being prepared for something. The preparation is a process and not an event. Hence, “training” cannot be a one-off activity we do when we have the time and budget. It is a carefully planned and crafted journey that makes the person ready for the role and task ahead. At Invigorate we call this, developing leaders today, for tomorrow. We work with clients to intentionally build leaders today, preparing them for the future.
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3. Empower the spirit
I’ve met leaders who say they empower others, only to find the opposite when I speak to those they believe they have empowered. Why is this so? Often when they say they empower others, it is because they want them (others) to do something for them. I understand the need for organisational alignment to provide context. That aside, leaders must learn to empower by releasing people to pursue their aspirations and dreams - and sometimes, that may mean doing it outside of your organisation.
As leaders, we create opportunities for them. We open doors. We journey together with them. If that journey is within the organisation, that’s fantastic! If it’s not, then we need to be gracious to release them and ask ourselves, why can’t we create that opportunity for them here! Empowering others is not about people doing our bidding, but launching people into opportunities for them to live their purpose. In short, we need to treat people as people, and not a resource.
Purposeful leaders are driven by purpose, not performance. It’s not about what I (people) have to do, but rather “WOW, I get to do this!”. There is a world of difference between the two statements. The latter sparks excitement and releases energy that is beyond what is asked for.
Some questions for us to reflect on:
Are you a secure and confident leader? Do you feel threatened by the success of the people you lead or do you celebrate with them?
Are you equipped to lead today for tomorrow? How can you use your knowledge, skills and abilities to serve others?
Are you launching others into their opportunities or are you using them as a tool and resource to do your own bidding?
Regardless of where we’re at in our leadership journey, we can be that purposeful leader. Engage the core to build security and confidence for yourself and the people you lead. Have a servant-heart as you invest time and resources into equipping the skills required to prepare yourselves for tomorrow. Catapult others into opportunities and spur them on to live their purpose.
Be The Purposeful Leader!
How can you find your leadership purpose? Watch this video below to learn more! We hope it encourages you!