Simon Terry

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The Purpose is in the Work

Leadership is work with others to fulfil a purpose. From where does purpose come?

The work.

Many people want to find their personal purpose to guide their leadership work. For some, purpose is quickly evident with a little reflection. Often reflection will only take you so far. For others drawing out any strong sense of purpose is more of a challenge.

Leadership is work, not a status. Purpose is a strong personal impetus to action, not an abstract & perfect idea. You don’t need purpose perfect to act. Just as leadership gets better with experience in the mess of the work, so does purpose evolving to a clearer expression through interaction with others.

The best guide is that purpose is what compels you to act, to lead and to have an impact on others. So ask these questions:

– What do I enjoy doing most in my work? What drives that?
– What work do I keep coming back to do? What drives that?
– What kind of impact do I have? What kind of impact do I want to have? What makes me choose these things?
– What do others call on me to do? What is it about me that makes them choose me?
– What do I want to do next?

There is little value in endless reflection to perfect a purpose. Purpose is refined in practice. Purpose in leadership necessarily involves others. Demonstrate leadership in work, learn from interactions with others and see where your purpose is strongest.

Do. Focus on the work. Purpose is there. Purpose comes.


1 Comment

  1. […] Be clear on your personal purpose. Look for that purpose in the work you do. Clarify the shared purpose in your organisation. Don’t impose a purpose designed around the […]

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