How to Lead With Purpose and Have More Impact


As a leader, you're always striving to grow and improve. But there's a lot of leadership advice out there — how do you sort through it all? As an executive coach working with major companies, I've found that focusing on three areas — Purpose, Presence and Power — gets results time and again for my clients. Today, I'm kicking off a series of articles to help you put them into play more powerfully in your own life.

So let's start by talking about Purpose. I define Purpose as working strategically on the areas that drive results leveraging the unique ways that you add value as a leader.

Purposeful leaders consistently do three things:

  1. They focus on the right work. Spend your time on your "Big 3": the top three areas where you can have the biggest impact on the business. Make sure you and your manager are on the same page about these areas. Once you've ensured alignment about your Big 3, take a look at how you currently spend your time. How well does your schedule sync up with your priorities? Look for ways to redirect your time from less-critical work to your Big 3.

  2. They articulate what defines their leadership. Too often, high performers set the bar so high for themselves that they don't really notice how much they have to offer. Take a minute to identify your top three strengths, and the “so what?” of each. In other words, what does each strength allow you to do that other people cannot easily do? How does it really make a difference? For example, if you listed "approachability" as a strength, the "so what?" could be that you can get to the heart of issues and resolve them faster because people feel comfortable telling you what’s really going on.

  3. They track their accomplishments weekly so they can share them with others. Another common trait of high performers is that they often rush from one project into another without taking the time to notice their successes and what led to them. If this sounds like you, taking even five minutes to identify your personal best practices after completing a project will allow you to more intentionally use those practices going forward. And by sharing your accomplishments and practices with others, others can learn from you and will know more about how and when to engage you.

When you lead with Purpose, you maximize the impact of your unique talents and skills. This week, choose one of the three areas above to focus on. And be sure to stay tuned to for the second part of this series, where we'll talk about Presence.