Leaders are the ones teams look to for determining what is important.
Being a student of leadership for decades I’ve read bunches of books on the topic, written a couple of my own, and served in various leadership capacities. The question of what makes for a great leader is often discussed and debated. Today’s On-Purpose Proverb is my bottom line on leadership.
But what’s behind this On-Purpose Proverb? Here is what is implied. First, the leader is a member of a team. Obviously, leaders need followers. Also, the leader may or may not hold the title of authority, yet is looked to for authority. He or she is simply the person the team trusts to figure out what is important.
But what about the leader… what is being said? The leader, for whatever reason, is trusted to know what is important in the situation at hand. Whether it is running a business or running a race, the leader has a sense of things and can make the trade-offs between good and great. In my terminology,
the leader knows his or her purpose. He or she has a vision, a sense of what the implications are against a future image in the mind’s eye. The leader has either earned the trust and/or has the track record of getting things done right. Finally, the leader knows right from wrong and makes the
call. This is the purpose, vision, mission, and values in alignment. This is what makes for being an on-purpose person.
Now consider your places of leadership – for we are all called to lead. It may be at work, at home, at play, or in a volunteer setting. Do you know yourself well enough to truly lead with excellence? Do you know what is important to you deep down? Do you really have a strong sense of who you are, where you are going, how to get there, and what’s important along the way? Leadership begins with knowing self, and knowing self begins by articulating your purpose.
Have you ever written your personal purpose statement? If not, I will do a blatant plug for my book, The
On-Purpose Puzzle. It is only available from our bookstore ($10 plus shipping). After years
of helping people write their purpose statement and then training others to do the same, I put my best tools, tips, and methods into written form. There is even a quick start exercise. It is written from me to you in a "how to" mode.
Here’s how to get started writing your purpose statement. Respond to this statement: "I exist to serve by…" Write your response long hand, bullet points, mind map it, or whatever it takes to empty your thoughts around the completion of this statement. Then look for patterns and keep asking yourself why that is important. Ah! There’s that important word again! Because ultimately, our actions are the results of our choices.