Purpose: The Sixth Power Skill for Leaders in a New Era

To successfully lead companies and inspire people, leaders need to develop new capabilities. A new type of leader is needed to inspire and lead their people – one who engages their heart and soul as well as their capabilities, blending their analytical and whole human skills

There are seven Power Skills that help leaders do just this:

  • Self-Awareness & Capacity for Growth
  • Empathy & Compassion
  • Ego-Awareness & Humility
  • Transparency & Truth
  • Resilience & Emotional Intelligence
  • Purpose
  • Servant Leadership

Let’s take a closer look at the sixth: Purpose 

Each person is born into being full of their own unique potential. As leaders, when we value this potential enough to invest in ways to unleash it, we gain so much: better morale, higher employee engagement, resonant teams, and a north star vision that aligns individual motivation to the organizational mission. In the end, purpose can be a powerful unifying force that allows companies to adapt, envision, and perform at its own highest potential.


Another benefit of having a strong purpose identified is that it helps us deal with ambiguity. Facing today’s challenges, we know from research that the more satisfied we are with our work, the higher our capacity is to deal with uncertainty. By sharing a collective purpose on teams and within organizations, the effect is a filter that allows a faster way to achieve clarity of strategy, tactics, and allocation of resources. It gives an effective tool for decision making and arriving at mutual agreements. 


Finally, as adults, we know the power of self-directed learning. We want to learn about things that fulfill our curiosity and internal motivation. Having a clear sense of purpose allows us to be more self-directed, to apply our curiosity to innovation and navigating change, and to learn more about who we want to be as leaders and changemakers.


A Few Questions to Help You Explore Your Purpose:

  1. How do I want to serve others today?
  2. What are you willing to struggle for? What is worth it for you?
  3. What conversations do you want to be having at work?
  4. Where can I affect the greatest possible positive change?
  5. What would it take for more joy, resilience, or potential to show up?
  6. What can I do with my time that impacts what matters to me?
  7. What else is possible? How does it get any better than this?
  8. If you designed an ideal day, what would you do, where would you go, and who would you spend your time with?
  9. What values do I have and how do they show up in my life and work?


Select Practices for Engaging Purpose:

  • Journal—Julia Cameron’s An Artist’s Way is an excellent way to jumpstart a journaling practice that helps you uncover purpose. With a few dedicated minutes each day, you can begin to see patterns of what you care about and how you want to show up in the world.

  • Notice your impact orientation—At work and at home, pay attention to what kinds of conversations you are most interested in: affecting change for individuals, for groups of people, or for society as a whole? How does your orientation affect how you see your role on teams and within your organization?

  • Notice states of flow—Pay attention to times during the next week when you “lose yourself” in what you’re doing. Can you sustain this with ease? What patterns do you notice about the things that allow you to enjoy deeply the activities you’re doing?

  • Notice the quality of connection—As you pay attention to what matters to you, how does it show up when you interact with others? How do you hold authentically to your sense of what’s right and allow for the emergence of self-direction in others? How do you blend and still hold integrity for what’s true for you and them?