“Why” is Always the Reason & Motivation for Leadership

Leadership requires more than just ambition. Whether you are already a leader or aspiring to be one, your success lies with your understanding of what values you add to whom you lead. It is not unlike running your own business. Start with why, who you will serve, and how you will serve them.

Why do you want to be a leader?

You may already be a leader and you just got there because you had been asked to for whatever reason. You may want to be one because it gives you more decision-making power and money. Either willingly or by necessity, you as a leader exist because there is a community to lead.

You must add value to the community you serve, by which I mean that you 1) Facilitate creating a shared vision, goals and success and 2) Provide a safe environment where the community collectively and individually can grow and expand regardless of their gender, race or cultural background. You add value by creating a cohesive and empowered team where each member feels safe to bring their whole self to the table and contribute to the company’s vision and successes while they achieve their own successes within the company and for their own growth.

Create a shared vision, goals and success

Whether it is a smaller team or the entire organization, leaders can see themselves as facilitators in creating a shared vision and goals. We often find that leaders have their own vision in isolation from the team and at best they attempt to share it with their team and at worst, it lives only in their heads. When the vision and its corresponding goals are co-created with the team, the team will have the best success because the team will be invested in the outcome.

Provide a safe environment for everyone on the team

Where everyone is respected and valued for being creative, resourceful and whole regardless of their differences, the members within the team thrive. They are safe to share even their craziest ideas that often turn into great ones with other members’ help and support. When the team feels like a family, a shared vision is truly felt. The team-mates take care of one another.

In the absence of true leadership, the team’s success is limited both individually and collectively. Leadership should be viewed as service, not as a right.

Who do you serve? Who is on your team?

Leaders must be committed to hiring people whose core values are aligned with the team and talents that will further the success of the team. Once established, leadership also supports each individual of the larger team. What are their motivations, what are their growth aspirations and what challenges do they have in adding value to the team?

Understanding that we all want to contribute to the community that we belong to, leaders can support their team in their challenges as well as their aspirations. This requires frequent check-ins specifically aimed at their aspirations and challenges and this is in addition to their performance reviews.

I can almost hear some people protesting “Who can afford to spend time like that in our busy work in addition to what is already on our plates?” I emphatically tell you that you cannot afford not to because the collective motivation of your team is the engine for your organization’s success. Leading unmotivated people requires enormous amounts of energy and is as futile as pulling square-wheeled carts.

Lead with why - add value to whom you lead
Lead with why – add value to whom you lead

How will you serve?

What is your leadership style? Everyone is unique and you don’t need to be a different person to be an effective leader. When you are your authentic self in your leadership, you will earn the trust of your team. What they see is what they get. Some leadership qualities will make us more effective and it’s a good idea to develop these characteristics as thoroughly as possible. All great leaders exemplify Integrity, Proactiveness, Inspiration, Humility and Empowerment.

Leadership with true follow-ship starts with why: why do you want to serve as a leader? Whom do you serve and what are their aspirations and challenges? How will you serve them to be successful, which in turn will make your team successful?

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