Creating Purposeful Leadership and why it matters

Creating Purposeful Leadership and why it matters

Only 18% of individuals trust business leaders, to tell the truth 75% of employees want to experience more authenticity at work.

In today’s political climate it would be easy to feel we’re having a crisis of leadership, void of ethics, full of spin and putting themselves ahead of those they should be serving.

Here at Pecan we are nonetheless feeling huge optimism for the future of leadership in the workplace. In her recent blog Taking Action on Purpose, Alyson Chadwick, Co-Founder and Director of Hedgehog Strategy, set out the clear and compelling case for the increased impact and results that comes with becoming a truly Purpose-led organisation.

Becoming Purpose-led is not a ‘once and done’ activity; it doesn’t stop once the organisation’s Purpose, Vision and Values have been defined. In fact, that could be seen as the easy bit! Being Purpose-led is a continual journey, one which requires a certain type of leadership and there is a growing number of leaders who are proving the point.

What is Purposeful Leadership and what are the benefits?

Purposeful Leadership is about having your own, inner ‘north star’, rooted in your personal values and beliefs about why you exist and the impact you want to have on the world. It’s about creating alignment between that and the Purpose of your organisation and using this to guide your decision-making, behaviours and actions, rather than serving your own needs.

It is the foundation to every other aspect of a Purposeful organisation and is commonly found to be 70-80% of the impact on workplace culture.

Purpose alignment framework

The idea may sound intangible, but we all remember the leaders we have seen in action, who lead by their moral compass, take personal risks and show vulnerability for the good of the whole. We also know the leaders who put their own interests first and who, sooner or later, suffer the consequences – often not so overt that they notice, but people quietly leaving them or their organisations because they don’t like the cut of their jib.

In today’s challenging environment, with high levels of volatility, uncertainty and ambiguity and increasing pressures to attract and retain talented people, being a Purposeful Leader can have a wide range of benefits.

  • Peace of mind – that you are making decisions and taking actions that are congruent with your own sense of purpose and personal values. Compare this with the deep dissonance that eats away when you feel you are acting against your better judgement
  • Seeing the wood for the trees – with incredibly crowded agendas and never enough time in the day, having a clear sense of leadership purpose helps ruthless prioritisation of what matters most
  • Creativity and innovation – Purposeful Leaders do not expect to foresee all of the problems and have all of the answers. The call for strong ‘charismatic’ leaders has gone; instead stakeholders are looking for leaders who have the humility to acknowledge the challenges, collaborate and listen to those around them
  • Stamina and resilience – Having a clear understanding of stakeholders’ ambitions and challenges, and being focused on them, brings emotional stamina to overcome unpredictable challenges and difficult conversations
  • Culture lives in the conversations, behaviours and decision-making of everyone in the organisation and leaders set the example for what is important. Employees may be attracted to a role due to pay and benefits, but research shows that what keeps them is a sense of affiliation in a culture where they feel they belong and where they can thrive.

So what does being a Purposeful Leader look like in practice?

Pecan’s experience over the years has taught us that the human-BEing is more powerful than the human-DOing, so we love Hubert Joly’s 5 B’s, former Chairman and CEO of Best Buy. A multinational consumer electronics retailer might not be where you’d expect to find Purposeful Leadership but it was at the heart of the business turnaround. Joly drove five consecutive years of sales growth, a 263% increase in shareholder return, and doubled online sales.

Here is our interpretation of what the 5 B’s look like in practice, based on our experience of coaching leaders 121 and facilitating organisation culture change programmes. See how you feel you stack-up against each of these.

image of purposeful leadership table

Become a More Purposeful Leader now!

Often leaders have a niggle that the way they’re spending their time doesn’t really reflect what they feel they should be prioritising. In our busy worlds the feeling gnaws away until a crisis happens.

By taking a step back, individually or as a team, leaders can find or reconnect with their Purpose, explore how this supports their organisation’s Purpose and re-evaluate where they are placing their focus and how they are BEing with their teams and stakeholders.

  • How clear are you about your Purpose as a leader?
  • What does this mean in the context of your organisation’s Purpose?
  • How Purposeful do you feel in how you lead day-to-day?
  • What are your biggest challenges with remaining Purposeful in the way you lead?

If you want to review, reset or realign Purpose in your organisation, check out our e-book ‘People Powered Purpose: Why leading with Purpose is winning’ for more information and a Mini-Audit you can undertake in your organisation.

And get in touch to book a call with me at [email protected] to explore how we can help you and your organisation.

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