Why Purpose and Values are Essential: The Need for Self Managing Leadership
From my point of view, women and men today are more drawn to asking and answering deeper questions about their own purpose, values and vision than they were, say, 20 years ago. Or at least they are more willing to acknowledge the attraction to these meaningful issues more openly than in recent years past. This change of orientation is reflected in many ways, including the best-seller lists, rising interest in yoga, meditation, and spiritual practices, and sometimes even the political dialogue.
Why the shift? I doubt there is a definitive answer to this question- but I do know some of the reasons why we have changed our conversations (both inner and outer). Perhaps it is because of the uncertainty of the working world. Organizations are not “taking care” of their employees the way they once did. The notion of lifetime employment is an older generation’s anachronism. What about layoffs/down-sizing/right-sizing/off-shoring? Whatever one calls it, it results in uncertainty and unease for those who are let go and also those who remain. What about terrorism? Environmental crises? Overpopulation? One could cynically argue that most of what is seen and heard in the news around the world is discouraging, if not worse.
We can no longer rely on any organization or government to support us. Because of the challenges, worries, and threats facing us in the “outside” world, many have turned inward to find solace, clarity, and strength. We feel the pressure to support ourselves.
Leaders in business and other organizations have the responsibility to support not only themselves but others as well. They need to provide guidance and vision, and act with confidence and compassion, which is no small task given the uncertainties which face them. For leaders to hold their ground they need to know what their ground is- they need to be grounded. They need to know where they are headed as people. The Oxford Leadership Academy calls this “finding your personal compass”.
I participated in Oxford’s Self Managing Leadership program last year, and I was so drawn to the work that I have become a Fellow of the academy.
The Self Managing Leadership program provides the opportunity to find one’s place on the compass and to identify one’s direction- in life, and in our work. It is an opportunity to step off the moving sidewalk of our jobs/roles and consider what is important to us and what is needed of us. We can consider what is most relevant for us and give it the attention it demands from us. Doing this is often uncomfortable (as in any meaningful change in patterns and behavior), perhaps challenging, and usually very fulfilling. Most importantly, it is a necessary conversation for us to have in order to more effectively lead ourselves and others in this increasingly challenging world.
I encourage leaders at all levels to take some precious time to discover, clarify and re-commit to their values and purpose- and to translate and apply those inner compass-points toward focused action. Doing so improves our performance as leaders, enhances our own levels of fulfillment and satisfaction, and provides the opportunity to answer some of the most relevant questions of our time.
I invite you to contact me to talk more about this impactful and fulfilling work. You can also explore the Oxford Leadership Academy website- including my profile- at www.oxfordleadership.com