Why Bad Leaders Refuse the Value of Being Mission-Driven
Originally posted December 23, 2021.
There are many things that leaders must have wisdom in to create a meaningful impact in the workplace. Authenticity has proven to be a precious commodity, coaching unlocks others’ potential, and communication allows meaningful connection with team members.
But among these many attributes, the value of being on mission and staying on the mission seems to be consistently overlooked.
The value of being on and staying on the mission is constantly overlooked by bad leaders.
Part of it is due to the common misconceptions about what being a mission-driven leader means. In reality, however, being mission-driven is one quality that no leader should overlook.
Unfortunately, many leaders aren’t interested in being mission-driven because it feels “soft” or even “dumb.” The most common response I get from these leaders is, “This mission stuff is fluffy. We are here to make money.” Others flat out say, “we don’t need it.” So while I can understand why people would say these things, they could not be more wrong.
What’s Being and Staying on Mission?
The word mission is traditionally defined in leadership as an important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction; a calling or vocation. While the definition makes sense and would be hard to argue that it’s not essential in the world of leadership, some great leaders take it further.
On a recent episode of the 3 Things podcast, Host and CEO of Red Ventures, Ric Elias, asked CEO of Movement Mortgage, Casey Crawful, “What advice would you give to someone to have a purposeful and joyful life?” Crawford’s answer spoke to me.
“Go on a mission in life, and run hard after doing something meaningful and impactful that you can look back on be proud about.” He continued, “If you do meaningful work with people you love, it’s been a formula that has brought a lot of joy to my life.”
“Go on a mission in life and run hard after doing things meaningful and impactful”Casey Crawford
If you look beyond Crawford’s wise words, no military operation is set in motion without a clear mission. For example, Seal Team Six, which killed Osama Bin Laden, was put in harm’s way to carry out a specific mission: take out the world’s most dangerous man.
You can look at both of these examples in many ways, but what I want you to remember is this:
Mission Makes Meaning
In other words, when you are on mission, you have meaning in your work. The best leaders know having meaning behind your work is a key ingredient to success and purposeful achievement.
How to Be Mission Driven
I come from the school of thought that we can have a personal mission, a team mission, and a company mission. While all three are independently essential, I get fired up most about a team on a mission.
Take Sarah, a team manager in a mortgage company, as an example. Her group was responsible for preparing final loan documents for closing appointments for all parties to sign before the transfer of the deed. It’s tedious and stressful work without a lot of genuine excitement.
Sarah saw an opportunity to create a deeper connection to the purpose of her team’s work every day. She asked the companies loan officers who received her team’s final documents to send pictures of clients executing the final paperwork at closing.
Soon after, a photograph of a single mother with her young daughter arrived. Both beamed with pride as the mother signed the paperwork solidifying the purchase of their very first home. Photographs like this one continued to roll in. Sarah’s team better understood their mission of helping families become homeowners as they did.
If you lead a team, do not go another year without being clear on why your does what it does and its mission. It’s easy for professionals to get lost in the monotony of their work without even considering how their work truly impacts lives.
It’s easy for professionals to get lost in the monotony of their work without even considering how their work truly impacts lives.
Creating or reinforcing a team mission statement immediately raises the ceiling of what’s possible and improves your odds of having highly engaged employees. If you need help, try this formula from Building the Best:
We do X in order to achieve Y for Z.
For the mortgage team responsible for preparing final loan documents, the mission could be something like this: “We rapidly compile and complete closing documents for families so they can be “home” as soon as possible.”
Whether you have previously considered yourself mission-driven or not, now is the time to remember never to stray far from the mission. Leaders who are mission-driven will not only be more successful long-term versus those who aren’t, but it’s a requirement in today’s leadership landscape.
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About the Author:
John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company making virtual training easy and effective. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success and host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.