How to Lead – Purpose vs Pull

[ New Distinctions for Entrepreneurs – Part 11 of 12 ]

There is a subtle difference between garnering people behind a common purpose and motivating people with a carrot on a stick.

Both are positive motivations. An example of carrot on a stick would be some sort of financial reward or, in fact, any opportunity for personal gain. It is a kind of self-serving, extrinsic motivation. While there is a time and a place for such motivational structures, having them as an over-arching strategy leaves out so much capacity for higher productivity.

Once people’s basic needs are taken care of, they will work hard for something bigger than them that they believe in than they will for their own personal gain.

To lead with ‘purpose’ then is even more powerful than leading by dangling carrots on sticks.

But what does it mean to lead with purpose?

It means simply for you to focus on embodying your commitment to your vision and to the path that you currently see. It means being willing to move forward on that path, without knowing what you’ll find ahead.

Doing this, while allowing the vulnerable witnessing by your team, will allow them to feel your commitment to your purpose The more they feel your commitment (by watching you), the more they will associate that feeling with their own commitment.

Commitment to purpose is infectious. It catches like fire. The hotter you make it burn – the more you go ALL IN for what you are doing – the hotter it will burn in them too.

You don’t need to worry about being ‘charismatic’. There are many ways to feel someone’s commitment and passion for a purpose. Sometimes a calm, cool, collected and unwavering bold courage is even more inspiring than a wild-armed, loud-mouth.

If you don’t know your purpose – if you don’t know WHY you are doing what you are doing – then this is obviously a first step. Figure this out. Get some support in connecting with it. I do this with leaders all of the time. The moment I help them know deeply the purpose behind what they do, they are able to lead their people much more powerfully.

They show up in the world in a new, clearer and bolder way and it catches in their team like fire.

What is your purpose?

How are you expressing that in your work?

How are you vulnerably showing your team your fear, while at the same time, also showing them your courage in the face of that fear?

Where are you NOT doing this? And where could you be?