Leadership without purpose is like a ship without a sail. Clients, customers and employees are hungry for inspiration and vision. At the core of our being we want to feel that our lives mean something more than the next paycheck or brokered deal. It is about connecting to a higher purpose that drives you in times of exhaustion, elation, celebration and despair.
Father Chris Riley is a man on a mission and lives a life anchored to a higher purpose – not just the godly kind – continually contributing to something greater than himself through his not for profit organisation, Youth Off The Streets.
Riley will leave behind him an inspired legacy of leadership, faith, community and above all else, hundreds of young adults who owe their lives to his dedication and vision for a better future. People follow because he is passionate and honest, but also because he remains true to the higher purpose driving him forward. Lasting leadership requires it.
Here are the 3 most important reasons I think leadership needs to be anchored to higher purpose:
1. It will keep you grounded. When you are dedicated to something that is about more than yourself, you will have an easier time of staying motivated and focused on the end outcome, regardless of your place at the table. Henry David Thoreau once said: I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour.
2. It creates an inherent belief system. Creating an emotional connection with your customers or your team around the higher purpose of the business creates authenticity, builds trust and sparks innovation. It is impossible not to reap rewards from a system built on these foundations.
3. It reduces the emphasis on function. There are people who will center their output based on the function of a role or a situation. This can create a sense of restlessness that highlights the sticking points of a position, rather than the vision for the role and how it contributes to the higher purpose of the company or the people within it. Maintaining a vision for the future that is clearly communicated to the whole team will align thinking and ambition, leading to the ultimate success of the whole group and their combined higher purpose.
Father Chris Riley also talks passionately about the need to innovate and how he foresees the leaders of the Catholic Church evolving to meet the needs of changing times.
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