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The Purpose of Leadership

It’s tragic that the ranks of leadership include hirelings who serve for paychecks, rather than purpose. Leadership is a calling, not a career.

One purpose-driven leader is worth a thousand hirelings.

Money matters, but leaders with a calling inspire us.

The calling of leadership:

The purpose of leadership, in broad terms, is service. Personal expressions of service, for authentic leaders, are about who they are.

Leadership is about serving, not being served. The more you serve, the more valuable you become. 

  1. Purpose lifts leaders above self-serving.
  2. Purpose provides focus.
  3. Purpose fuels grit.
  4. Purpose inspires others.

Purpose in the news:

CBS news recently reported the story of the Argosy Bookstore. The owners aren’t simply selling books. They’re on a mission to protect books.

Louis Cohen learned to love books while reading to his blind father. He opened the Argosy Bookstore in 1925. In 1991, when Cohen died, his three daughters, Judith, Naomi, and Adina took over. Judith said, “We’re protecting heritage.”

Adina said, “Books are endangered.”

The sisters, now in their seventies, receive over a hundred offers a year to buy their six story building on 59th Street in Manhattan. But purpose makes people do “stupid” things. If it was all about the money, take the cash and run.

Instead, they’ve made plans for one of their sons to take over the store.

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek

Finding personal leadership-purpose:

  1. Bill George suggests digging into your crucible moments. 
  2. Tell your story to others. We understand ourselves best when we hear ourselves telling our story to others. Pay attention to times of greatest fulfillment, deepest disappointment, and nagging frustration.
  3. Journal. Put pen to paper. Writing is reflecting.

Purpose eludes many. Set aside time to explore, find, and express it. Give yourself to something bigger than yourself.

How might leaders find purpose?

How has purpose impacted your leadership?

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