Purposeful Leadership Lessons

You will find Purposeful Leadership Lessons and answers to common misconceptions about leadership and management in the Purposeful Action Blog. Put yourself on the track to success and fulfillment today by applying these nuggets of practical wisdom. New Purposeful Leadership Lessons or “tips” are posted periodically on the Purposeful Action Blog — so check back often.

Should you be driven by goals?nexusdarkerfontcover

No.

So, what should you be driven by?

You should be driven by Vision. Goals are merely milestones along the way to measure your progress towards your Vision. Vision incorporates the purpose and core values of the individual or of the organization. A far too common mistake made by managers and leaders (as taught in most business schools) is to be driven by goals. Most management and leadership training courses stress that the purpose of action is to achieve goals. Such teaching are not only misconceived, but can be harmful to the individuals and to society at large. Actions driven by goals can lead to unethical behavior — as seen so often in our business and political arenas.

Here are some reasons why actions driven by goals (and the rewards that goals represent) can lead to disaster:

  • Goals and results represent the fruits of the action.
  • If you focus on the fruits, you will be tempted to use manipulation to attain them.
  • The purpose of goals is to measure progress toward your mission.
  • The purpose of fruits is to reward success for accomplishing your mission.
  • Ethical balance is threatened by focusing on what you will get rather than what you can give.
  • Goals and fruits foster an “outside-in” or “taking” motivation for action. This will lead to unsatisfying results no matter how successful the action or rich the fruit.
  • Vision fosters an “inside-out” or “giving” motivation for action. This is the hallmark of Purposeful Leaders.

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