It’s not work that erodes our spirit, it’s meaningless work.
High-impact leaders go beyond the fundamentals (like setting clear goals and giving positive feedback) and boost everyone around them by infusing a wave of inspiration and commitment.
In the past two decades, I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the most passionate, purpose-driven leaders in the world. These top-performing leaders share four core habits:
1. They build belief.
History is filled with examples of small, nimble teams that beat formidable opponents. Smaller teams often win when they’re more emotionally invested. They believe in a cause bigger than themselves and exhibit more grit, focus and tenacity. Belief drives behavior, and behavior drives results. A leader’s ability to create shared belief for a team can mean the difference between failure and perseverance.
2. They are performance-driven.
If you’re serious about making an impact, you need to measure yourself. Top-performing leaders are performance-driven not just because they want to be promoted, make more money or fuel their own ego (though, those things are all nice). Top leaders strive for even more. They push for performance because they know their team, customers and, in some cases, the world depend on their impact. They’re relentless in their pursuit of delivering in bold ways. They hold their teams to high standards because they know it matters.
3. They make the mundane meaningful.
Most jobs have tedious elements. Top-performing leaders help their teams see those tasks and activities in the context of a larger impact. For example, if your company manufactures concrete equipment, someone on the team has to fill out paperwork every week about how much equipment was produced and where it was sent. A purpose-driven leader provides the steadfast reminder that concrete holds up so much of our infrastructure. People’s homes, businesses and lives need a strong foundation. When we are diligent about our production data, it enables us to help even more people. They connect the dots, and the larger purpose brings meaning to the (seemingly) mundane.
4. They value mistakes.
If you’re trying to have a big impact on the world, you’re going to make mistakes. It comes with the territory. A team that makes no mistakes is likely not innovating, pushing or growing.
Purpose-driven leaders recognize this. They celebrate the ideas that didn’t quite pan out because it’s a sign that their team is trying and is actively engaged in the pursuit.
They don’t tolerate repeated errors, and they certainly don’t reward low performance. They do accept the level of risk and errors that comes with growth. They help their teams recover, learn and build the resilience in them to try again with the same gusto (and a little more experience) the second time around.
The data tell us that purpose-driven organizations outperform their competitors, and purpose-driven leaders have higher rates of engagement and retention in their teams.
The good news is that you can start down the path at any time. In our experience, even simply talking about a bigger purpose or sharing a story about how your company makes a difference will give you an immediate win.
To get a bit more personal, when you start to use the above for habits, you do more than create high performance for your team. You also create a more rewarding work experience for yourself. Purpose is a self-fulfilling loop. When you inspire the people around you, you, as a leader, experience the same in return.
– Lisa Earle McLeod is a leadership consultant and the author of several books. For more information, visit McLeodandMore.com.