by John Sikkema |
Gen X and Gen Y are flexing their muscles as they increasingly move into leadership roles in the workplace and society. As leadership styles change, we are seeing the rise of purpose-focused and purpose-inspired leaders. More than ever, staffs are expecting to work in environments with leaders who have integrity and values. Here's how you can engage your team by leading with purpose.

1. Dig deep and discover your purpose 

Ask the hard questions to discover the underpinning values of the business and yourself. What's your purpose? What's your business' purpose? How can you as a leader make a difference?

2. Make a choice to change

Once you have clarity of your purpose, take action and make changes. Speaking of my own personal experience, a brush with death in a car incident jolted me into questioning my life and my purpose. From that moment, I made some significant changes in my personal relationships and work-life balance. 

3. Start moving and worry about the details later

Sometimes you have to just start moving in a direction -- even when you're not exactly sure where you're going. Although I started making significant changes, my life purpose was clarified later when I stumbled upon an unorthodox speaker. His passionate talk challenged me to use my success in business to help less fortunate and marginalized people. I walked away energized and highly motivated. I wrote a list of the changes I needed to make to embark on my newfound purpose-focused leadership. How was I going to integrate this into my work life and personal life?

4. Communicate your purpose and provide opportunities

Purpose-focused leadership needs to be transparent. When leaders share their vision with passion, people will naturally follow. Give your staff the opportunity to jump on board and be part of your vision. A key to leading with purpose is that it's inclusive. One day I shared with staff my desire to be involved in something significant beyond our business. From a place of vulnerability in communicating my passion, our company birthed a collaborative philanthropic venture that would impact many lives. To my surprise, revealing my thoughts to the team created an overwhelmingly positive result. Within hours we had raised enough money to fund an orphanage in Thailand, partnering with a local NGO. It showed the team that I wasn't all about making money. I wanted to make a difference in the world and I led by example.

5. Find a leadership mentor or coach and invest time

I have found several mentors who have helped me change and grow as a leader both at work and personally. I prioritized reading books and attending seminars in pursuit to discover my purpose.  

Leading with purpose builds momentum in the business that impacts all areas, from staff motivation to building a positive environment.  It creates a team culture and unites staff and is a magnet for engaging like-minded, passionate people. 

Every leader should know his or her own purpose as well as their business' purpose. An ideal scenario is when a leader's life purpose aligns with his or her organization's purpose. This "sweet spot" is where your passions, strengths, and opportunities overlap. Once you find it, it is powerful and infectious to the people around you.


John Sikkema is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and author of Enriched: Re-Defining Wealth. He is the executive chairman of Halftime Australia, inspiring leaders to live their life purpose now.