What is Your Leadership Why?

Key Insights:

  • Most people do not want to become a leader, rather they are oftentimes tapped to become one.
  • Many leaders never examine why they choose to lead, and instead, simply go through the motions without understanding their intentions and desired impact.
  • Knowing one’s leadership “why” is critical to success and the ability to inspire others.
  • Can you let go of the old leadership status quo and help your organization evolve to meet the demands of today’s workplace?

Leadership is more than just the destination at the top of your career ladder, and it is also more than just a fancy title and role. It is a way of being.

If you have been following our blog series, I have been writing a lot about shifting away from the old style of leadership and evolving to the new way of doing business. 

Being a leader is hard work. In fact, it is harder now than ever before because of remote workforces, changed hours and responsibilities, and the way our personal lives and work have continued to blend. 

Leading from the heart with soft skills empathy, compassion and vulnerability are must-haves if you are going to connect with your teams at the human level. What we have learned through this experience and through research is that there is a huge push to humanize work now than ever before as supported by this Harvard Business Review article on leading through exponential change. 

There is no doubt that the pandemic has exacerbated the need to support workers at every level and to engage with a sense of nurturing personal growth targeted to everyone on your team. The new way of leading further supports the idea of letting the leadership status quo go, as the old ways of leading no longer apply in our current world of work.

If you think about it, “status quo” and stereotypical leaders fall into two categories; those who are driven by the esthetics of leadership (the large paycheck, fancy title, and ego) vs those who understand their number one priority is to serve and empowers others (with effective two-way communication, respect, and the vulnerability that ignites and supports employee motivation).

Which leader is more intent on integrated teamwork and collaboration?

Which leader is interested in modeling behavior and actions that will inspire others to do their best work?

Which leader will have a lasting positive legacy that develops and inspires the next generation of leaders?

When it comes down to it, you must decide what kind of leader you want to be.

The choices you make will determine your ability to lead effectively, inspire people and the impact you will have inside and outside your organization. If you want to ensure that you make the right choices for you and the people you care about, you must start by asking yourself, “Why do I want to lead?” In other words, what is your leadership “why”?  

When it is clear, you can be intentional and focused with every thought you think and every action you take as you move forward. Aligning with who you are and who you want to be will enable you to perform in a much more profound and meaningful way.

Why Lead at All?

Being a leader of people and teams is not for everyone. Those with a clear purpose that is focused on the success of the individuals on their team will make great leaders. Looking at leadership through the lens of purpose allows you to focus on the real “why” behind your calling. 

Conversely, purposeless leaders get into their roles for several misguided reasons, as stated above, often driven by:

  • An increased sense of power or prestige.
  • Higher status, inside the organization, as well as within the community.
  • An ego boost that is fueled by the ability to be in control.

Still others get into leadership because it was chosen for them. Or they found themselves in leadership roles after a series of promotions. Yet, they may have never really examined their leadership why which can only serve to diminish realizing their potential.

I suggest you take time to reflect on why you want to lead, the type of leader you want to be and the impact you want to have within the organization that you serve. 

Look Inside to Find Your Why

Not surprisingly, most leaders go through their entire careers without feeling the need to be so introspective.

But if you really want to excel as an authentic leader, finding your leadership “why” will require you to dig deep, peel back the layers and look at your attitude, values, and behaviors.

My belief is that self-awareness and mindfulness is where you need to start. This is the foundational pillar of the 8 Principals of Grounded Leadership. Every pillar is important to the leadership journey, but you cannot get anywhere else on the journey unless you take the time to be introspective.

Finding your leadership why is crucial to your career success and the success of your organization. It is a process that cannot be completed overnight. But if you take it one step (or one pillar) at a time, you will reap the benefits in both your work and personal life.

Need Assistance Finding Your Why?

Have you looked at your career path lately and reviewed your mindset around leadership? If you are struggling, you are not alone. Feel free to reach out. I am happy to help you uncover what is stopping you from being the leader you want to be. You can email me at joanne.trotta@leadersedgeinc.ca or call me at 1.855.871.3374.

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