• Nuno Moreira da Cruz

Leadership with Purpose?Certainly much more than just being a “nice guy”…

May 30th 2021

The concept of Purpose and its inclusion in the strategy and culture of companies has been gaining a lot of attention. In the last few years, a dramatic change has occurred and Purpose has become mainstream in the Corporate agenda – not any more a “nice to have”, but an enabler to build a sustainable competitive advantage. It is common these days to come across comments and articles around the idea of "purpose-driven companies deliberately make a difference in their communities and maybe even the world" or "a number of studies have shown that purpose-driven companies perform well in the market". In this context, the concept of “purposeful leadership” is the one who puts people, customers, and other relevant stakeholders first, all-embracing a shared purpose treating profit as an outcome rather than the goal. The leader with purpose understands clearly that businesses objectives can only be achieved working with the people (Team).

I try to illustrate this reality in a simple way in the chart above. Here are the "subtitles": that leader (chief ...) who has no concern for people (P) or business objectives (BO), only remains in his place because someone in the organisation is completely distracted to allow this character to resist (or, worse scenario, because “above him” there is the same profile…); the one who cares a lot about P and little about the BO is what I call a "nice guy", a lot of personal empathy, but who hardly resists much time in an organization, especially in very competitive markets and industries; those who care exclusively about BO and for whom people are disposable (used when useful and then…just let them fall) create harsh environments of fear and stress and time will condemn to a slow death of relationships and results; the true Leader with Purpose seems to be the one who cares about both, knowing that without people is impossible to reach the BO, but also having it clear that, without the fulfilment of those BO, the team, sooner or later, will end up paying for this "lack of attention" to financial results. Everything becomes a virtuous circle – results are delivered by people, and in return, those results will reinforce the image and motivation of people. Where would you place your boss? Nuno Moreira da Cruz Executive Director Center for Responsible Business & Leadership