Purposeful Leadership takes center stage today at #LinkageGILD

By Mark Hannum on October 22, 2017

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Today marks a big day in Linkage history—we’re not only kicking-off our 21st Global Institute for Leadership Development® in Palm Desert—we’re sharing the findings from the largest leadership research study we’ve ever conducted in our 30 years of business. It’s only fitting that we feature a blog post by one of the masterminds behind the research who will take the stage today to present our findings to the 500 leaders in attendance. Read on for an insider’s look at what he’ll be sharing.

Follow all of the action taking place on center stage—read the leadership insights and quotes from our outstanding faculty and capture the memorable moments from our participants on Twitter @LinkageInc using the hashtag #LinkageGILD (or on Facebook and LinkedIn).

Our recent research: Rethinking Leadership: The Power of Purpose revealed that purpose differentiates great leaders from the rest. Purposeful leadership is best defined by five commitments that the most highly rated leaders make to themselves, their teams and their organizations. A commitment is a state of being dedicated to an activity, or a cause. It’s a promise to do or to give something. The Oxford English Dictionary defines commitment as “a pledge or an undertaking.”

Interestingly, these definitions all sound one-sided. Yet we know that leading purposefully—when done well—is in fact a reciprocal relationship between more than one person. We often pledge to something or someone or make a promise to someone or to ourselves.

In reviewing academic literature, interviewing leadership experts, and analyzing our own data from more than 100,000 360° leadership assessments, one notion kept coming up again and again: that effective leaders engage with others; the best leaders make commitments to stakeholders, and stakeholders develop expectations for their leaders.

Many experts refer to leadership as a relationship, not as a process and certainly not a position or role.  It’s a state of connection that when done with mastery—creates or improves performance. This connection multiplies the number of individuals in pursuit of a goal and the milestones achieved. It creates a sense of identity for those who are connected.

Think about a time when a new leader joined your organization, to lead your function, or to take over your team. You may not have been conscious of it at the time, but chances are good that you had questions running through your head as you thought about what the future might hold. You may have wondered…

  1. What’s their vision going to be for us?
  2. Am I going to have what it takes to contribute to that vision?
  3. What’s going to change? Can I adapt and learn what I need in order to flourish?
  4. What’s my new role going to be? How am I going to be positioned in this new order?
  5. Is this new leader someone I can admire, connect with, and respect? Will they have the courage to do what’s necessary?

Looking back, how did you make sense of your connection to that new leader? Did they fulfill your expectations? Did they fail you? Did you fail them?

Purposeful leadership, powerful impact.

At the end of the day, purposeful leadership is about clarity around your vision, the talent it will take to achieve it, the innovations or changes required, the roles people will play, and your own role in guiding the team in the journey ahead.

Purposeful leaders are called upon to do five things:

  1. Create a hopeful vision for the future.
  2. Bring together talent that can contribute in meaningful ways towards that vision.
  3. Bring about the innovations and changes required to achieve that vision.
  4. Structure people together in roles and teams with the right tools, process, and objectives to be successful.
  5. Be an individual that people can respect, admire, and follow.  A person of goodwill, wisdom, and maturity that you want to be around….and follow.

Each of the five purposeful leadership commitments is part of a larger system, and together they make your leadership impact relevant in the context of your environment—and to those around you. That’s why the cornerstone commitment, “become,” is so important. At the end of the day, leadership is all about the relationships you create with people, the promises you make and keep, and the expectations you meet or fail to meet. Living out these five commitments purposefully creates the connections and shared experiences that ignite all who are involved.

Eager to get started? Ask yourself: How clear am I? How transparent am I? Would my stakeholders say that I am strong in all five commitments? How do I balance areas of strength, and areas of growth? Am I being honest and true with myself and my team? Where do I shine? What do I need to work on?

Posted in Blog, Executive Development, Leadership Development

About Mark Hannum

Mark Hannum is Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Linkage. He partners with clients to create better business results that incorporate both organizational justice and effectiveness. An organization development consultant by training, Mark’s focus has been on understanding and improving executive processes and decision-making.

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