- February 3, 2022
- Posted by: Hillary Feder
- Category: Company Culture, Employee Engagement
Six weeks after formally completing the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program (link to GS program), and I’m hyper aware of how those learnings creep into every workday.
Some of the most eye-opening revelations have come from the time we spent on leadership when we delved deeply into our own leadership style—strengths and short comings. As a result, after consulting with colleagues, I realized several leadership essentials had shifted as our growth lured my eye off this proverbial ball.
I’m committed to not letting these shortcomings prevent me from leading my team on all cylinders:
- Internal communication – doing a better job of sharing information sooner instead of hanging on too long before sharing;
- Letting go – once delegated and communicated, I need to establish a check-in process that balances frequency and avoids micromanaging; and
- Sharing vision – Understanding where we are and where we are going – the last two years has been a challenging not always knowing where we were headed (the GS program helped immensely).
As I tuned up my own leadership, I looked more deeply into what it takes to lead successfully today. I ran across research from Harvard Business Review that reported fewer than 20% of leaders have a strong sense of their own individual purpose. The report went on to say when a leader does not know their purpose, they cannot be a guiding compass for the organization. Today this is becoming an imperative.
Purpose acts as a North Star – a fixed point to help navigate through change. In today’s marketplace purpose-driven leaders and the organizations they lead are winning. My purpose remains steadfast –helping our clients make people that matter feel like they matter.
There are five key essentials to purpose-driven leadership that will engage and create the employee experience people are craving.
Knowing where you want to go and how to motivate your team to go with you. It isn’t enough to have a vision. You need to bring it to life – in your meetings, communications and actions. This helps teams understand their role in helping achieve that vision. When people know where you are headed and what it will take to get there, they are more apt to stand behind their leader who they appreciate for standing behind them.
Communication is the foundation to strong bonds. Express your purpose clearly, consistently and frequently. Tailor your communication with the people you are speaking with – your direct reports or someone from the front lines. Let them know what you expect them to do with the information and why this is important for them. Ask for feedback to help you understand how your communication has been processed. Communication is a two-way activity. On the other side of speaking is listening. When you are getting feedback, really listen to what is being said to respond appropriately. This is how leaders engage and inspire people to give their all.
Choosing to be vulnerable sets a tone for everyone. Share your story openly and often. Include your hardships, sacrifices and successes to build empathy and encourage others to do the same. These actions remove barriers, make you more approachable, and foster emotional well-being. The human connection is more genuine with imperfections.
Relationships matter. See your team as people first, employees second. Walk the office floor or jump on a digital platform and engage in meaningful conversation beyond the work you do together. Demonstrating compassion will create stronger connections and increase trust. Getting personal is learning how they spend time out of the office, writing a note to recognize a personal milestone or a thoughtful gesture.
Help your people grow to reinforce that you take an interest in them as individuals who are valued. Encouraging your people to seek growth opportunities helps you retain knowledge by hiring from within. This sends yet another message about the importance of individuals on the team. Guiding your team to develop key skills also creates bench strength and agility.
Putting these essentials into practice exudes passion that will inspire, influence and guide your team. Purpose-driven leadership raises employee engagement, which in-turn increases retention. The more deep-seated your purpose is, the more people connect with it. Getting purpose right builds organizational resilience and agility to respond quickly during uncertain times, and improves long-term financial performance.
Need help translating purpose into practice to make the people who matter feel like they matter? Let’s start a conversation about how we can guide your efforts.