Purposeful Driven Leadership


Leading people is a difficult task. Can I get a virtual ‘Amen?’ In the textbook Contemporary Management, Gareth Jones and Jennifer George argue that problems are inevitable for leaders: “Managers in all kinds of organizations, large and small, often face situations entailing conflict.” If a leader understands that he’s call for the purpose of leading others, I feel he or she is better able to address any issues that might arise. In my last post, I discussed workers finding their calling. Yet, at the heart of this personal discussion, comes the issue of an individual’s purpose in life. Inherently, this matter is too overtly personal and spiritual that most organizations annoy the discussion. Sadly, these organizations miss a very huge trend taking place across the globe. It is a search for a more spiritual existence.

Sometimes, an individual’s purpose may go beyond individual’s education and work experiences. During my doctoral studies at Regent University, I came across Dr. Chris Cunningham. He was married to one of classmates. Dr. Chris Cunningham, with more than 24 years in the media business, sees his purpose divinely.  He launched FireWorks International, a non-profit Christian media production company. Using his own money, he and his wife Dahlia began to implement their vision. This purpose led them to create the Redemptive Film Festival (www.redemptivefilms.com). As the new author of Worship 101, Dr. Cunningham is a symbol of how your purpose can drive an individual. Clearly, your purpose may not take this religious form. However, most people are driven to something special more purposeful than routine living. Is it enough to just exist? I say ‘no.’ 

Yet, emerging leaders need to take responsibility to make the best of their lives. There is something special about having a reason for existence. You got a purpose to keep going even if…you hate your job!  One of the most insightful books on this subject is Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, published in 1946.  During his years as a prisoner in a Nazi death camp, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy called logotheraphy. 

 At the core of logotheraphy is the belief that man’s primary motivational force is his search for meaning. Dr. Frankl, an author and psychiatrist, had first-hand experience on suffering. His wife, father, mother, and brother all died in camps or were sent to the gas ovens.  Only Frankl and his sister survived.  How could Frankl go on when everything seemed to turn against him—loss of family and possessions, loss of dignity, mental and physical torture, and the constant threat of death? 

Great leaders are fueled by a sense of purpose. As we continue to suffer economy uncertainty, emerging leaders need to realize they are called to leadership for a purpose. Some bosses who perform only for the money may quit their job due to the stress to find securing employment. Yet, workers need leaders with courage. These beliefs start when people are children and continued to develop, as they become adults.  Brian Tracy, goal-setting expert, says, “Whenever you have a high self-concept, you perform well.” Followers want leaders who have a direction.  Organizations want to retain and develop leaders who can inspire the workforce despite incredible obstacles. Therefore, living a purpose-driven life is a key ingredient for the 21st century leader.

How can an individual’s purpose anchor him or her during chaos?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

7 thoughts on “Purposeful Driven Leadership

  1. Everyone creates his own life and decides what life style he wants to live. We need to ask ourselves some questions; do we have a direction, or we’re moving aimlessly through each day like a lost driver? Do we have a destination? Do we have a strategy that can take us to our destination?
    Without clarity of purpose, you will be confused about your future. When an organization has clear vision and goals it will prosper, because the employees that will unify their direction and pull for the common cause. Lack of clarity in organization will lead to waist of effort and even chaos.
    An organization needs to clarify visions and goals for its employees. Job descriptions for employees should include goals and performance objectives aligned with the vision of the company. Clear strategy is very important for employees to understand and follow in order to meet goals.



  2. According a survey by the Massachusetts Medical Society, “28 percent of doctors said they were contemplating a career change due to the practice environment. Those numbers grew to 56 percent for neurosurgeons, 40 percent for OB/GYNs and 36 percent for ER doctors.” There is no doubt that doctors and health care physicians enjoy incomes above the average. So what causes more than half of the surveyed neurosurgeons contemplate changing their careers if they could? The answer would certainly be something that means more to them than money and consumerism. Possibly family, more free time, less stress, etc. This would be a prime example of the importance of finding meaning in one’s life. Furthermore, according to authors of a book called Career Renewal, Celia Paul and Stephen Rosen state that “In a survey of 1,300 physicians done fairly recently,(1), 63 percent said they wouldn’t recommend medicine as a career to their children”.

    CBS News stated that a Florida man, Terry Watson, was rescued by the Coast Guard 42 miles off the South/North Carolina border in 2002. Watson had no chance of surviving if he was not determined to live. This reflects how important determination is and how it could help during chaos.

    In a contemporary capitalist organization we won’t see the gruesome accidents ER doctors see nor do we have to devise ways to survive without fresh water for 2 months. However, a stressful corporate life-style without purpose is definitely an unpleasant experience. Leadership requires vision and determination and I believe both cannot be achieved without an intangible goal.

    Purpose serves as a principle around which to organize our lives.


  3. There are many cliche’s about life…”life is a rollercoaster”, “life throws you curves”, “such is life”. I bring this up because all are true, nobody’s life goes exactly as planned everyone has to overcome hurdles and obstacles in their life. An individuals purpose can help solidify the decisions one makes to get over these hurdles or through the obstacles, if you stay true to your morals, values, and faith during tough times you will make it through adversity. A great example of this is the Book of Job it exemplifys an individual staying true to himself and his faith even through unimagenable hardships, if you have never read it I would encourage one to.

  4. In her book ” Do what you love and the money will follow” Marsha Sinitar discusses how when people follow their passion as a career money becomes secondary. Missionaries in third world countries fulfill their purpose by touching the lives of others. Tony Robbin’s story about life pays whatever price you ask of it is so true, yet many of us sell short our dreams because of FEAR. We get comfortable in the security of daily life and dream of leaving the comfort zone but rarely do we.

  5. An individual’s purpose can anchor him during chaos because it serves as a reminder of why he decided to embark on his chosen task in the first place. In many situations throughout life, especially on long and complex tasks we may find ourselves in over our heads and second-guessing our choices to take on added responsibilities. Having a purpose reenforces the concept of value-add for an individual. If an individual has a strong self-concept and knows himself, it is just like speaking to yourself, “I am here because I add ____________(insert random value) to this organization.” It is self-empowerment, and can reaffirm and reenergize a person’s drive.

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