Leadership & purpose are inseparable.
Leadership without purpose is meaningless – you must have a dream, a vision, a cause which people can become purposeful toward.
Purpose without leadership can become wayward and lack the focus needed to bring any lasting results.
Emmeline Pankhurst had a very clear sense of purpose: to bring about a lasting change.
William Wilberforce had the same sense of purpose: to bring about lasting change
Ghandi had a strong sense of purpose: to bring about lasting change
How it happened was different. They marked that sense of purpose with their personality. They stuck to the purpose through opposition and challenge. They were successful.
Purpose for them was real.
I think each one of those mentioned above would have died for the cause, understanding that true change can only come sometimes when those leading the way show a readiness to give their all for it. Sacrifice, the willingness to lay aside some of our own comforts is not for everyone – if it was that easy we would all be incredible leaders making lasting change.
Think about this:
Emmeline Pankhurst did die, just weeks prior to the Voting Rights for Men & Women Act was being passed.
William Wilberforce did die, 5 days before the Abolition of Slavery Act was passed, bringing to an end slavery within the British Empire.
Ghandi did die, just 5 months after the Partition of India was agreed.
There are many more great leaders who illustrate that the sense of purpose must be real – not all died for their beliefs but they were ready to. We may not consider our leadership so significant, yet the sense of purpose should be no less strong for us.
Purpose for them was truly ‘deeds not words’.
This was the motto of the Pankhurst movement. Dare I suggest that for any leader to pass the purpose test it needs to become our motto as well. Words are often cheap and we live where many would accuse leaders of grand rhetoric, which is followed by little substance or action (Politicians are a great example).
For Emmeline Pankhurst words were great but the only way change was going to be brought about was through actions – on her part and on the part of those who opposed her.
For these individuals, there was no room for a day off. Everyday was lived with their life’s purpose in mind.
As a leader you must develop that same sense of ‘no day off’.
You are a leader 24/7 – like it or not!
If you do not develop and embrace a sense of purpose, those on your team and following will not develop it either.
Remember: people catch your actions and attitude quicker than they catch what you are saying.
For any great leader purpose can be described as…
As a leader you will, like everybody have the desire within you to matter, to feel appreciated, and to want to achieve something of greatness and importance. To leave a legacy even.
To follow a route already cleared by another can be easier, requiring less thought from us and bring with it only modest challenge. To travel a path no-one has previously trodden demands a depth of character that unfortunately, the majority of leaders do not have.
To be a great leader you must understand that purpose demands an excellent mixture of vision and perseverance, held together by a good grasp of reality.
Napoleon Hill said ‘There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it’. Live like this and you will give yourself the potential of blazing a trail that many more will want to follow and bring about change where turning back is not an option.