The four challenging questions which transform your leadership approach
Managers who lead with inner purpose inspire their people to be more passionate, engaged and creative. I’m lucky enough to work with business people across the world – supporting them in a deeply personal journey to uncover their leadership purpose. The logic is simple: to inspire others, first inspire yourself.
Sir John’s purpose
When I was writing The Spark: How to Ignite and Lead Business Creativity Sir John Hegarty, founder of the legendary creative agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty revealed his purpose to me: “To inspire everyone around me.” This simple statement guides his day-to-day actions and informs his empowering management style. Of course, this non-dictatorial philosophy is put to the test when a person’s work is not quite up to scratch. “I turn to them and say: ‘This is really good, but is it great?’ I want you to be famous. I want you to look back and say: ‘this was a great moment in my career’.” Laughing, he adds: “Creative people love a challenge!”
Hegarty believes in the moment after failure a manager can inspire something special: “The trick is to find a bit of what they have produced already that is good and focus on that. I need them to walk out feeling – we can crack this! It’s vital they don’t feel deflated – they must feel passionate, energised and positive. When they leave my room they must feel they can go and do something great. If I belittle them then I destroy them. Cynicism is the death of creativity.”
Finding your purpose
Exploring your leadership purpose can sound too big to even start, but it’s not. It’s inextricably linked to the activities that put a glint in your eye. Those challenges which naturally lead you to offer your unique value to the world. Here are four questions to help. Ask yourself (and other people) the first two questions; the last two are just for you:
- What do other people see as your strengths?
- What do the individuals on your team need from you?
- What really inspires you about your work?
- What do you want to be remembered for?
Having a North Star to follow is not just helpful when things get complicated. It transforms work from the daily grind into a personal mission. It’s the difference between inspiring your team to great things – or handing them a license to just go through the motions. As the American Civil Rights Activist Malcolm X once said: “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.”
This is an edited extract from ‘The Spark: How to Ignite and Lead Business Creativity’ (Financial Times Publishing) by Greg Orme which is available on Amazon.