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Leaders: Create Purpose & Meaning

May 10, 2022

By Bob Whipple MBA CPLP, “The Trust Ambassador”


What can leaders do to ensure the maximum number of people have a sense of purpose and meaning in their work?  Here are a dozen ideas that can help.


  1. Have high ethical and moral standards. Operate from a set of values and make sure people know why those values are important. Leaders need to always model their values.
  2. Create a positive vision of the future. Vision is critical, because without it people see no sense of direction for their work. If we share a common goal, then it is possible to get excited about the future.
  3. Generate trust. Trust is the glue that holds people together in a framework of positive purpose. Without trust, we are just playing games with each other hoping to get through the day unscathed. The most significant way leaders help create trust is by creating a safe environment.
  4. Build morale the right way. This means not trying to motivate people by adding “hygiene factors” like picnics, bonuses, or hat days. Motivate people by treating them with respect and giving them autonomy. Leaders do not motivate people; they create the environment where people decide whether to become motivated.
  5. Recognize and celebrate excellence. Reinforcement is the most powerful tool leaders have for changing behavior. Learn how to do it well!
  6. Treat people right. In most cases focusing on the Golden Rule works well. In some extreme cases the Golden Rule may not apply because not all individuals want to be treated the same way. Know your people!
  7. Communicate more and better. People have an unquenchable thirst for information. Lack of communication is the most often mentioned grievance in any organization. Learn to communicate better in all modes, especially body language.
  8. Unleash maximum discretionary effort of all generations People give effort to the organization out of choice, not out of duty. Learn how to engage all people regardless of their age group.
  9. Lead change well. Change processes are in play in every organization daily, yet most leaders are not skilled at managing change.
  10. Challenge people and set high expectations. People will rise to a challenge if it is properly presented and managed. Properly challenged individuals are people who have found meaning in their work.
  11. Operate with high Emotional Intelligence. The ability to work well with people, upward, sideways, and downward allows things to work smoothly.
  12. Build High Performing Teams. A sense of purpose is enhanced if there is a kind of peer pressure brought on by good teamwork.


If you want to have people rise to their level of potential, they must all have a sense of meaning. To accomplish that, focus on the above items, and see a remarkable transformation in your organization.


To learn more about these and dozens of other critical characteristics of a good leader and help build your leadership skills, please join us for an upcoming Greater Rochester Chamber seminar series, “Leadership for Managers,” presented by Bob Whipple, “The Trust Ambassador” and CEO at LeaderGrow,  The series starts June 3 and consists of 5 half-day sessions.  Click here for more information or to register for this valuable seminar.  This course provided high value to all who have taken it; ratings average 9.3 on a scale of 1-10. Also, in 2021, the course was awarded BEST Leadership Development Program in Central New York by CNY ATD.


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