“Do you know the WHY of your leadership?”

When Steve Jobs was CEO of Apple he challenged fellow CEO, John Scully, to leave PepsiCo and join his startup company that lacked both adequate resources and name recognition.

Jobs could not offer him more money or security, but instead offered him purpose the chance to change the way the world communicates, learns and exchanges information instead of making sugar water.

What is the purpose for all the roles you play is one of life’s fundamental questions. Most people work harder on the what and how questions when they should be asking why—what’s the purpose?

As a leader your ability to create a compelling purpose and keep your team focused on its completion is often the difference between winning and losing. This ability above almost anything else is what separates average leaders from the great ones.

When a leader is dedicated to a purpose, the WHY, their energy and level of engagement and that of their team increases. Their dedication to winning is stronger and lasts longer. No leader ever unified the efforts of people, raised substantial resources and successfully achieved what seems impossible without an unwavering sense of purpose.

The capabilities of great leaders are more than charismatic personalities, effective communication styles and mastering the art of persuasion. These are of little value unless all team members understand the purpose, the why. Confidence comes from knowing what to do and how to do it. However, passionate engagement comes from knowing why.

Hurdles, obstacles and times of crisis test every leader’s best efforts. In fact, it’s these very challenges that creates the purpose for your leadership. There is no autopilot or default position for purpose. You cannot take your eye off of your purpose for long without it derailing your entire effort. Tough times is the breakfast of champion leaders, they thrive on it.

Adversity quickly stops a weak or inexperienced leader without purpose, but it only fans the flames of great leaders who don’t know the meaning of can’t or quit. Leadership must be more than talk. You must do everything on purpose for a purpose if you want to be a great leader.

“But this one thing I do; forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press toward the goal (purpose).” Philippians 3:12-14

Do those following your leadership understand the why, the purpose for who they are and what they do? How do you know? Why not ask them, their answers may surprise.

If your team believes in you and understands their “why,” you will never lack for passionate team members.