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