Leadership isn’t some sophisticated technique for getting people to do what you want them to do. Leadership is getting people to want to do what you want them to do because they share your purpose, vision and values.

-Kevin Freiberg & Jackie Freiberg, NUTS! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success

What would you say is the difference between motivation and inspiration? If you had to choose, which one would you say is better? Just as there’s a time for Transactional Leadership to supplement Transformational Leadership, there is a time for motivation to supplement inspiration. But what if inspiration is not a tool in your toolbox? Can motivation alone create meaningful and lasting change?

Purpose

What is your purpose? What is your company’s purpose? What is your team’s purpose? The right kind of leadership – transformational leadership – cannot occur unless there is a clear and meaningful purpose. Here is how Geoff Colvin, Senior Editor of Fortune Magazine put it:

“The average American business lasts less than 20 years before it fails or gets bought. The ‘100 Best Companies to Work For,’ on average, are an incredible 85 years old. Bottom line: Being a great place to work pays. How do “Best” companies do it? Partly it’s skill at finding staff-friendly ideas that don’t cost much…But those are tactics anyone can match. Winning requires something more: a sense of purpose. Employees get deep satisfaction, and become devoted to their employer, from a feeling that what they do is good and right.”

“…a sense of purpose… a feeling that what they do is good and right.” – remember that! Sometimes we get so bogged down with all the details of what we are doing; we lose sight of the big picture – why we are doing what we are doing – who we are serving. Organizations come into existence because of a need. Behind every need – whether a product or a service – is a person.

Gallop’s research has revealed twelve questions the world’s greatest managers ask themselves and deliver on. Here is number eight: “Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my work is important?”

Are you crystal clear about what your purpose is? What are your unique talents that allow you to serve in an exceptional way? How are your purpose and your division’s purpose aligned? How well are your division’s purpose and your company’s purpose aligned?

One of your greatest challenges as a TLM (Transformational Leader-Manager) is to help each person on your team achieve their full potential – both personally and professionally. Succeeding at this requires self-awareness. One of the foundations of self-awareness is an understanding of their purpose.

Take time this month to reflect on your unique talents and gifts and what your purpose is. Apply this to your personal and professional lives and become more of who you were meant to be. Then help those around you find and live their purpose. That is inspirational!

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