The Need to Lead with Purpose

2 min readNov 29, 2022

Whatever level of leadership you find yourself in, your role as a leader is not simply to tell people what to do, despite what many think.

Getting people to work hard, sell, sell, sell or ‘graft’ is one thing but in the current climate where access to roles online and where the market of recruitment and retention is a real battle ground, supporting your teams and coaching them to find their purpose will keep them for longer.

Too often in education and the business world, you hear so many leaders talk of the political and internal challenges they face when trying to do anything and move things forward. This admittedly can be a real challenge but you cannot spend too much time engaging in these fights or you’ll neglect your key responsibility of helping them be better and giving them a purpose to do so.

This is not an easy thing to do. Leading by telling is simpler and quicker, but I (Steve) think we’d all agree, it’s actually less rewarding, (and also likely to have less impact on authentic growth). It should also be the focus of every leader to take care of those they are charged with leading, as well as their customers in the end.

So, time needs to be dedicated, and given for people to engage in coaching and being coached. Only this week I have heard some wonderful stories of FE colleges sharing the impact they are seeing by allowing staff to explore and take risks, but also receive coaching to help them improve, based on relationship. As a direct alternative to dictated professional development or training, which is prescribed to every person and not bespoke or tailored to what each individual needs to actually grow and develop. Imagine if we did this to students…

So what needs to happen is:

#1 Leaders need to realise their purpose for why they are actually there

#2 Leaders, with their teams, need to work collectively to create the right culture, which allows positive approaches and a shared purpose

#3 Give space and time (as well as investment) to all individuals for coaching and support of growth and development — not just the top level C-suite staff

Until educational leadership and many other sectors develop a greater number of leaders who have purpose, and help others to realise theirs, then we could find ourselves stuck with leaders doing the same as what has already been done (and at times that may be fine), but with no real sense of direction or why.

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