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How to Become a Trusted Leader | A Q&A with Purpose Guru Richard Leider, #LinkageGILD Keynote Speaker

June 12, 2019 Rachael Marangu
richard leider


If you have a pulse, you have a purpose.

We’re here for a reason–and purpose is fundamental, not a luxury, explains Purpose Guru and #LinkageGILD Keynote speaker Richard Leider.

“Purpose is in our DNA as humans,” said Richard. “It’s universal. Indeed, it’s the key to health healing, happiness and longevity. And, it’s absolutely fundamental to becoming a fully trusted leader today.”

As Richard will explain from the main stage, the ultimate leadership challenge is “self-leadership”. During Linkage’s Global Institute for Leadership Development® (GILD), on September 16-19, 2019 in Palm Desert, California, Richard will walk us through three paths to purpose and self-leadership.

We couldn’t wait to hear more, so we sat down with Richard for a conversation about the importance of purpose when it comes to effective and trusted leadership–including his insights on how we can live our calling fully and authentically.

You’ve said that Purpose is something we do, not something we have. Tell us more about that.

Purpose begins by believing that you have one. Purpose is a mindset, a choice to make a difference in the lives of others.

How can we begin to understand what our purpose is?

First, answer the core purpose question: “Why?” Why do I get up in the morning? Envision the possible “purpose moments” in the day ahead. Purpose drives meaning. When you have a “why’, and an aim in life beyond yourself, you’re motivated to get results. You’re trusted by others.

What makes you feel fulfilled?

I get a fulfillment boost by choosing to make a small unexpected difference in one person’s life every single day. Giving to others makes us feel fulfilled.

What is a defining characteristic of a truly Purposeful Leader?

Purposeful Leaders listen. Listening is arguably the most critical skill that leaders possess. For example, just listening to someone for two minutes with full presence can be a “purpose moment” in your day, and a day without at least one “purpose moment” is not a well lived day for me.

How do we live our calling? How do you personally define “calling”?

Purpose is not what you do, but who you bring to what you do. So, let’s take a closer look at the who you bring to work question.

What should we do first?

First, if you’re looking at the question of “fit” in your work role, do what I refer to as The Napkin Test. The best ideas start on the back of a napkin, right? On your napkin, write this formula: G + P + V = C, or Gifts, plus Passion plus Values equals Calling. That’s the heavy lifting of Purpose.

If you approach every day with an intention to use your gifts on things you feel passionate or purposeful about in an environment that aligns with your core values, you’ve got a calling.

What’s next?

Next, ask yourself: Am I using my gifts at work? Gifts are enjoyed talents; the things you love to do. You may not recall learning them, but you do them effortlessly and superbly. You tend to lose track of time while doing them. Calling is the inner urge to share those gifts–to bring them to work every day.

What if this isn’t happening for us at work?

If you aren’t coming alive at work, I’d encourage you to do some self-reflection with the help of the Napkin Test and then try to bring more of your gifts to your job. I challenge you to bring 25% percent more of those enjoyed gifts to work and see what happens.

What if we are unsure of our purpose as a leader?

If you’re unsure of your purpose as a leader, start with considering this “default purpose”: grow and give. Two simple words. If you get up every day with the intention to grow and give, rather than know and take, you’re becoming a Purposeful Leader.

How can we put this practice into action?

Put a Post-It Note on your mirror with the words grow and give. Every morning for one week, look at this Post-It Note and envision how to live it that day. Every evening, look at the Post-It Note again and check in on how you did. Before you know it, you’ll be leading purposefully.

What’s one thing we should keep in mind as we live our calling?

Calling can change in terms of the way you act on it, but what doesn’t change is this: It’s always about making a difference for others.

Can you give us a sneak peek of what you’ll be sharing with us this fall at the Global Institute for Leadership Development® (GILD)?

Here’s a glimpse of what I’ll be sharing with GILD participants: The way we live and lead purposefully can change as we mature. Purpose is not a goal. It’s an aim, from cradle-to-grave. The aim is to make a difference, to make a dent in the universe, to leave our mark, our legacy.

Back in the 70’s, I took part in the Harvard Study of Adult Development. A long-term investigation–and by that, I mean researchers followed study participants from early adulthood to their passing–it focused on their experiences with money, health, relationships, work, virtually all aspects of life. Not surprisingly, the study spanning decade found that what keeps people feeling alive, fulfilled, and healthy is people and purpose.

What’s your advice for leaders who are preparing to join us on-site at #LinkageGILD?

As you prepare for your GILD 2019 experience, push the pause button once a day and ask yourself these “Why?” questions:

  • Why lead?
  • Why heed my calling?
  • Why help others heed theirs?

You have talked about the importance of the “sounding board” that participants experience through the GILD experience. Tell us about that.

At GILD, participants experience being part of what I call a sounding board. These are your “go-to” people for listening and wisdom.

Ask yourself: Who is your “committed listener”? Who is your “wise elder” that opens the wider lens for you?  Who is your “wise younger” that is your catalyst for innovation and inspiration?

Consider why a sounding board is fundamental to sound leadership. Come to GILD to cultivate your board and, perhaps, meet some new members.

Any last thoughts?

At GILD we say, “Don’t go it alone. Isolation is fatal!”

See Richard Leider in person and take the next step in your leadership journey at Linkage’s Global Institute for Leadership Development® (GILD) in Palm Desert, CA on September 16-19, 2019. Customize your experience through the “Leading Across Difference” Learning Track, designed to empower leaders with the unique skill-set they need to manage effectively across generational, ethnic, racial, gender, or other identity lines.

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