Being a leader is not easy. There is no one-size-fits-all guide to help you navigate the way. It takes courage, dedication and a great deal of empathy. You must also be a jack of all trades, flexible and good at defusing any problems that arise. It goes without saying that great leaders are also great communicators. A leader who cannot communicate with their team is like a book with blank pages. The cover may look appealing but without the text that follows, there is no pathway for people to follow.
Great leaders become exceptional leaders when they communicate their “why?”. Author and speaker Simon Sinek discusses the importance of “why” in his bestselling books Start with why and Find your why. According to Simon, we all have a reason why we do what we do. If you reflect on your past, you will recognise a pattern of behaviour that stems from an event or emotional experience. This governs our future actions and gives us purpose and direction. If you’re a business owner, it’s the reason you started your company. If you’re an executive, it’s the reason you give your all to an organisation and team. Often, you will find that there is a synergy between your “why” and the “why” of the company. Money may incentivise you to a certain extent but ultimately it is who you are and what you stand for that gets you out of bed each morning.
Expressing your “why” is becoming more and more important, particularly among millennials. Millennials want to know why they should work at your company or why they should buy your products. In a 2008 survey, 88% of millennials said they were looking for an employer with Corporate Social Responsibility values that reflected their own. 86% said they would consider leaving an employer if they found their CSR values to be lacking.
Exceptional leaders understand this and continually express their “why” to the people around them. They provide context and direction. This allows others to feel connected to something much larger than themselves. Apple demonstrates this perfectly. Their mission statement, as expressed by Steve Jobs is "To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind." It is no wonder Apple has a huge fanbase. It is their inspirational “why” that connects with people, creating millions of loyal advocates.
Without a good understanding of your "why", staff will feel disconnected and consumers won’t buy into your products or services. Never assume that your “why” is obvious and everyone will know. The more you express it, the more others can see it and connect with it.
At Epiphany, we coach a broad range of people in management and executive positions. Our “why” comes from a deep satisfaction we get from helping others succeed. We love seeing people and businesses grow and fulfil their potential. This drives our team to develop leading programs that transform businesses.
Our 'Emerging Leaders' program' is a tailor-made solution created for up and coming leaders. In this program, we will guide you so that you can educate and empower your employees to feel confident, passionate and engaged. As part of our program, we can help you find your “why” and develop your mission statement. We will also be equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to become an exceptional leader. Get in contact with us today for a free 30-minute consultation.
 PwC. Millennials at work Reshaping the workplace