• Nuno Moreira da Cruz

Leadership with Purpose: What does it take


November 15th 2020


The role of Purpose has never been more prominent in the business agenda. In this context, understanding which are the key leadership skills in this “new world” seems to be of paramount importance. As we expressed in the Research Note published last April, 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. Purpose driven leadership, the ability to align stakeholders around a common aspiration that goes beyond the direct interest of stakeholders, seems to be a key leadership characteristic, even more important in moments of crisis. Purpose-driven leadership or “purposeful” leadership is a critical Leadership skill for the years to come. Whilst Vision is where you want to go, Mission is what you do, Purpose is about why you do it. Think about the great leaders of yesterday: say Mandela, Gandhi, Jesus Christ. Where do you think their leadership comes from? I suggest it comes from the fact that they really understood their personal purpose, their "why". Leaders who understand their personal "why" then need to engage the whole organisation in the search for their common why, their common purpose. And when a collective purpose is pursuit, then a long list of leaders emerge. The true purpose-driven leaders understand that this is not anymore about having "my followers", it is about raising the potential leadership skills all of us have. In this new world, we need not only everybody's head but their hearts as well. Only the "Why" will get you to the heart of people. Rather than leaders surrounded by followers, the new environment demands leaders surrounded by leaders. Companies who have Purpose clearly defined and understood by its stakeholders, and “purposeful leaders” running the business, will certainly have an easier time going forward – from communication to financial performance, from staff motivation to loyalty throughout the supply chain. Have a great and impactful week! Nuno Moreira da Cruz Executive Director Center for Responsible Business & Leadership