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Are You Thinking About Your 'Why' as a Leader?

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Photo by Jules Bss on Unsplash

Why you do things as a leader now is just as important (if not more) than what you do

If I had to guess, I don’t think there’s one of us that’s not tired right now. The emotional toll that current events have taken alone is a force to be reckoned with. Add to that simultaneously educating our kids, answering tough questions, being out of our normal routine of things that bring us joy, and doubling down on the work at hand, it’s normal that we all might be feeling just a little, or at times, a lot, depleted.

What is the “human part” of your mission?

In challenging times, it's important to rely on and communicate your why – the reason you keep showing up. As we know from The Leadership Challenge, it’s during times of high challenge and crisis that we most need to be reminded of our vision – our why.

Right now, all of us need to tap into the human part of our work. For example, our vision at FlashPoint is “more meaning at work” and I wondered how, during this crazy time, each of our team members were personally connecting to that vision. How was I connecting to it?

After some reflection, it was empowering to be able to identify that for me, meaning at work looks like:

  • Strong relationships and connection with the people I work with
  • Being able to support each other, pick up the slack for each other when we’re overwhelmed, encourage each other, celebrate the small wins along the way and help each other grow and develop
  • Helping people stay connected to the things that matter most to them (whether clients or teammates)
  • Living out my own values in a way that connects me to the work and those around me
  • Being able to say at the end of each day that I made a difference for someone, somehow

Putting yourself back in touch with your ‘why’ will help you feel a sense of connection and power during this time. And it may just bring you closer to those around you.

 

Here's how you can start to think about and leverage your "why"

  1. You can’t talk about your why in a way that inspires and connects with others until you are clear on it yourself. Start by identifying your why clearly and concisely. If it helps you, write out paragraphs or bullet points or draw pictures. What gets you out of bed in the morning? Why do you show up at work in the midst of challenging and uncertain times? What is the difference you are making for others? These questions might help you gain clarity around your why.
  2. Consider how your personal values fuel your why. Think about one personal value that feels most compelling to you in these unprecedented times. How might it connect to your why? What might living out that value more intentionally right now look like for you, and what positive impact could it have on others?
  3. When you think about the direction your team or organization is heading, how does your own why connect to the organization’s vision? Once you know that, you can more authentically rally your team around where you are headed together. Talking about your why and how it relates to the vision helps move your team from a “we have to” mindset, to a “we get to”.

Being able to communicate to your team why they matter and why the work you do together matters, makes all the difference in times like these. You might just be the breath of fresh air that someone else needs in a given moment. Taking some time to reconnect to your own why will help you show up more effectively and humanly with your team.

Carve out time this week to give your personal why the thought and attention it deserves. If you feel like you struggle with identifying your why, you might consider attending our Online LPI® Workshop this July or September, or our in-person The Leadership Challenge® Workshop in November, where you will have time to reflect on your "why" and learn how to give voice to it in an inspiring way.


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Amy Savage

Amy Savage is an expert at facilitating transformational leadership experiences and coaching leaders through a research-based framework that enables growth.

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