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Provide Purpose Articles and Videos


When your people have a sense of purpose for the work that they do, they are more motivated and committed. You can provide purpose in the workplace by challenging people to be their best. Most people are looking to grow personally and professionally. You should challenge each person on your team to learn new skills. You should challenge the team to learn new collective skills together. You can also provide purpose by helping your team understand how their work supports the organization’s mission. When people have a sense of purpose at work, they are better able to bounce back from adversity, and then adapt and grow together because of that adversity.

See the Provide Purpose Competency Domain leader tasks and supporting knowledge.   



Magazine and Newsletter Articles

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Training the Team is a Collective Task You Must Lead

As the team leader, training is one of the most important responsibilities you will have. But training does not live in a vacuum. It is not something you schedule. Rather, you train every day as you build your team.

RBLP Staff

Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Foster a Learning Environment for Your Team and Yourself

Many times, managers focus too much on job performance and too little on the continuing education of themselves and their team. By creating an environment where people are encouraged to learn for their personal as well as professional growth, you will build a team that wants to be part of your organization.

RBLP Staff

Being Happy at Work Matters

People want to feel as if their work matters, and that their contributions help to achieve something really important. And except for those at the tippy top, shareholder value isn’t a meaningful goal that excites and engages them. They want to know that they — and their organizations — are doing something big that matters to other people.

Annie McKee in Harvard Business Review

To Cope with Stress, Try Learning Something New

Instrumentally, learning brings us new information and knowledge that can be useful for solving near-term stressful problems; it also equips us with new skills and capabilities to address or even prevent future stressors. Psychologically, taking time to reflect on what we know and learn new things helps us develop feelings of competence and self-efficacy (a sense of being capable of achieving goals and doing more). Learning also helps connect us to an underlying purpose of growth and development. This way, we can see ourselves as constantly improving and developing, rather than being stuck with fixed capabilities. These psychological resources enable us to build resilience in the face of stressors.

Chen Zhang, Christopher G. Myers and David M. Mayer in Harvard Business Review

Learning to Learn

I’m not talking about relaxed armchair or even structured classroom learning. I’m talking about resisting the bias against doing new things, scanning the horizon for growth opportunities, and pushing yourself to acquire radically different capabilities – while still performing your job. That requires a willingness to experiment and become a novice again and again: an extremely discomforting notion for most of us.

Erika Andersen in Harvard Business Review

How to Communicate Clearly During Organizational Change

As leaders, we are far more visible than we realize, and we are sending signals to followers all the time – even when we don’t realize it. And while sending the right signals to our followers is important at any time, it is especially important during times of strategic change, when followers are trying to make sense of a new “ask” from the organization, in the context of all the existing asks they are grappling with. Why, then, is it so hard for leaders to send clear, effective signals to followers?

Elsbeth Johnson in Harvard Business Review

Making Learning a Part of Everyday Work

Eighty percent of CEOs now believe the need for new skills is their biggest business challenge. For employees, research now shows that opportunities for development have become the second most important factor in workplace happiness (after the nature of the work itself). At the most fundamental level, we are a neotenic species, born with an instinct to learn throughout our lives. So it makes sense that at work we are constantly looking for ways to do things better; indeed, the growth-mindset movement is based on this human need.

Josh Bersin and Marc Zao-Sanders in Harvard Business Review

How to Tell Your Team That Organizational Change Is Coming

From time to time, every leader has to deliver news that is hard for employees to hear. Even when businesses are doing well, organizational and structural change is to be expected, and acquisitions, reorganizations, or policy changes can affect people’s jobs in ways that create feelings of fear, anger, or sorrow. Each employee wonders, “How will this change affect me?” or assumes, “Oh, this won’t be good! How am I going to get my work done?” Announcements like these can be daunting. And they go awry if they’re insufficiently planned or poorly delivered.

Liz Kislik in Harvard Business Review

Leaders Who Get Change Right Know How to Listen

In a PWC survey of more than 2,000 global executives, managers, and employees, only 54% of respondents said their change initiatives succeeded – and the most frequently cited problem (by 65% of those surveyed) was change fatigue. Because change is near-constant in many organizations, people are hit by wave after wave of it, and they’re left feeling depleted. Another big problem is difficulty getting people to connect with the larger vision: 44% of survey respondents said they resisted change efforts because they didn’t understand the initiative, and 38% said they didn’t agree with the change. So to spark and sustain change, not just once but again and again, it’s clear that leaders have to communicate better. But how?

Patti Sanchez in Harvard Business Review

Why Leadership Development Has to Happen on the Job

To help develop a workforce’s contextual leadership skills, those of us responsible for training and developing our firms’ next leaders have to think a little differently about learning. Organizational learning has to become less about the kind of learning done in a training session or online tutorial and more about continuous learning on the job. That means creating a work environment that supports and encourages learning, one that’s less about individuals learning new skills on their own, and more about using their environment to learn and learning from one another.

Melissa Daimler in Harvard Business Review

Supporting Videos

There’s More to Life Than Being Happy

Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there’s a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes, says writer Emily Esfahani Smith, but having meaning in life — serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you — gives you something to hold onto. Learn more about the difference between being happy and having meaning as Smith offers four pillars of a meaningful life.

Emily Esfahani Smith – TED

Why Veterans Miss War

Civilians don’t miss war. But soldiers often do. Journalist Sebastian Junger shares his experience embedded with American soldiers at Restrepo, an outpost in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley that saw heavy combat. Giving a look at the “altered state of mind” that comes with war, he shows how combat gives soldiers an intense experience of connection. In the end, could it actually be “the opposite of war” that soldiers miss?

Sebastian Junger – TED Salon NY