As you lead your team or guide your department, do you ever ask yourself “Is it worth it?” Are we making a difference in the lives of the people that we serve?
Every day when you arrive at the office, there is always a long to–do list. Every day you are pulled in two directions—the desire to do meaningful, significant work—and the reality of managing your time, your department, and your team.
Talking about purpose with your coworkers or your team may not be the type of conversation you have in the elevator, over coffee, or in the break room—but what if it was?
Thinking about your purpose, mission, and vision when you start your day can help orient you, and remind you that you are doing work that matters.
When you make certain that those you lead have a clear understanding of their role, and the particular mission that their role supports, you align your team’s expectations with the outcomes—or vision—they are working to achieve.
When you manage your team’s expectations, they experience less pressure to live up to undefined goals. When your team is confident that you trust them to serve well as an ambassador to the public, their focus will be on the outcomes of their work as they perform to the best of their abilities.
Those in positions of authority and leadership have a responsibility to their constituents and their team. Action reveals thought and words reflect the heart – what we believe and what motivates us. Your team is looking for a leader to follow; your actions and words will inspire and motivate them.
Through your leadership, your purpose and perspective on doing work that matters is revealed in the character and culture of where you serve.
Your organizational culture—your character and values in action—will serve to reassure the public that your organization is credible and trustworthy. Credibility leads to trust, and trust is an essential character quality in the culture of any public sector organization.
This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. —George Bernard Shaw
It’s worth the investment of time to take a step back and think about purpose and creating a purpose-driven culture where you serve, by asking:
- What’s my role, and what does it require of me?
- How will what I do make a difference?
- Who am I serving, and what do they expect of me?
Putting it into practice
- Purpose guides you. Your purpose can be found in a higher calling—to the public sector, to serving fellow citizens, to fighting against some wrong or inequality. What are the deeply held beliefs and principles that guide you, and how you practice them every day?
- Mission drives you. How will you put your beliefs and calling into action? Your mission is what drives you every day to fulfill your purpose; the actions you take to achieve your vision. Mission is a direct path between your purpose and vision.
- Vision aligns you. Your vision is what the next day or distant future looks like. Vision aligns leaders and followers. It is an ongoing process of aligning your mission to your purpose. Vision is the reality of your purpose in action.
You can make a difference no matter what role you’re in, whether it’s serving from your own personal purpose or for a greater purpose and greater good. Remind yourself, and your team, every day of why you come to work.
When you do, you will be one step closer to doing work that matters.