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The Three Gifts of Purposeful Leadership

The Three Gifts of Purposeful Leadership

Leadership expert, Mark Hannum reveals the gifts that are received when commitments of purposeful leadership are practiced.

Last week was a moving experience for me. Linkage held its annual Global Institute for Leadership Development in California. The Institute is built on the five commitments of Purposeful Leadership:

  • The leader has an inspiring purpose and a vision that brings others to participate in the effort, something that will better the common good, something selfless;
  • The leader engages and includes every team member to contribute to their best abilities;
  • The leader drives new thinking and creative opportunities that creates competitive differentiation or an innovative way to the vision;
  • The leader helps to achieve results by organizing people and aligning resources;
  • And, the leader transforms and grows themselves in their commitment, their courage, their self-awareness, and their ability to bring out the best in others through respect and involvement.

Its not just a great experience, it’s a chance for me to hear how others react to, think about, and engage with the commitments. I get to hear new voices express Purposeful Leadership back to me. Its no longer my voice, it’s the voices of many talking about the gifts that they receive in practicing this set of commitments. The exchanges I had led me to believe that there are three gifts:

  1. Integration
  2. Momentum
  3. Elevation

Integration. When a leader finds a purpose that aligns with the organization that they work for, and sweeps up and engages the people around them, they feel a sense of integration, a wholeness, and a parting with the anxiety that comes from the lack of integration. The self-questioning went away along with the self-doubt. Leaders expressed to me that the criticism was still there, the resistors were still there, the pressure was still there, but that it didn’t overwhelm them. The criticism, resistance, and pressure had become noise. 

Momentum. Several exchanges that I had with leaders were dominated by the pervasive feeling that before Purposeful Leadership that they had felt stagnated. Purposeful Leadership had given them permission, even a freedom, to commit to entirely new ways of doing things. And as they pursued new ways of doing things, they had to create even more new ways of doing things, and instead of feeling a win-lose-win-lose-win-lose oscillation in their responsibilities, they began to feel that they were making a difference in how people were doing in their roles, how the culture was changing, and in how business results were starting to click. 

Elevation. Beyond the sense of integration and momentum, the leaders expressed a feeling of reciprocal trust with the people around them. In crafting the goal and challenging the status quo, the leader and the people around them felt an elevation of trust in one another. One leader said, “I am freaking out at how good this feels as a leader. I feel so close to people now.  Waking up every morning and diving into work with a group of people whom you like and trust is unlike any other feeling I have ever experienced in business.” 

Purposeful Leadership is not easy. And for those leaders only interested in personal glory, the gifts of Purposeful Leadership are probably not of any interest or even on their radar. Nothing is ever 100% harmonious or perfect, of course. But my conversations with leaders reinforced the data that I see every day: Purposeful Leadership is the path to being an effective leader.   

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The Three Gifts of Purposeful Leadership

Mark Hannum is Senior Vice President of Research and Assessments at Linkage, Inc., where he helps senior teams and executives improve organizational and business results through leadership effectiveness.