Purpose Motivated Leadership

Recently, I was listening to an EntreLeadership Podcast interview of Lisa Earle McLeod discussing her book Selling With Noble Purpose. Clear-Sense-Of-Purpose

The premise of the conversation was that in corporations, the sales reps who make up the top 2% of highest achievers share a surprising similarity: without exception, each one was motivated more by purpose than profit.

And guess what? In the process, they profited more!

I find the same is true in school.

We have a student who is an orphan at my school. She struggles with so many emotions and doesn’t always make the best decisions–even though she is finally passing all her classes.

She skipped school the other day, and I assigned her to our ISP room (one teacher/no social interaction for the day) for discipline.

When she caught up on her work, she asked if she could read something, so I sent her Chicken Soup for the Teenager’s Soul. She asked to see me later in the day.

When she came into my office, she told me that she had read the entire book and wanted more. So our librarian sent over a copy of Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul. She asked if she could take it home. When I told her the librarian said she had it for two weeks, she clutched it to her chest and beamed.

“Awesome!” she shouted.

You would have thought it was a Christmas present.

Sometimes I have days when I don’t enjoy what I do. Keeping track of all the demands–dealing with discipline decisions, for instance, can be wearing. But in moments like these, I remember why I am here.

It is also a reminder that each of us can enjoy work more when we remember it has a purpose.

You don’t have to be an educator to find meaning in work. Whether it’s providing safer designs through engineering, better care through medicine, excellent service and entertainment through running a restaurant–whatever your vocation, God gifts us to make better the world around us.

When we walk through our day remembering that our purpose is more than test scores or “putting out fires”–when we discover the joy of supporting our team members or helping students discover the wonder of learning, then we tap into a purpose that we can clutch to our chests.

In all the do’s and don’ts of school leadership, don’t forget the higher purpose of being called to serve. Our profit margins may not be the same as a corporate sales rep. But the benefits we receive from watching students succeed is something money can’t buy.

Now It’s Your Turn: Think back to an experience that has reminded you of your purpose in your position. What happened to remind you of your purpose? What are some ways you have learned to hold on to that focus? Share with the rest of us!

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Principal Matters–The Book!
Principal Matters (Final) 3D
School leaders are very busy, so each of the twenty-four chapters is designed as a quick-read and followed with take-action questions for follow-up or reflection. If you want practical ideas on understanding your purpose, managing school teams, dealing with challenges, and leading with courage, action, motivation, and teamwork, go HERE to pick up a copy for you or your team.

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker