Purposeful Leadership

“More than anything else, what keeps a person going in the midst of adversity is having a sense of purpose. It is the fuel that powers persistence.” – John C. Maxwell


Leaders are not born but they are made; We all have the traits of leadership flaming in everyone of us. What is left to us is how we can challenge ourselves to give room for our leadership qualities to manifest. In order to achieve these leadership qualities manifestation and transformation, my message for the next two weeks will bother on “Purposeful Leadership and Visionary Leadership” – may God spare our lives!

Let me first describe what Purposeful Leadership is all about.

We have all at different point in our lives faced some situations or circumstances where we are expected to come on board to address issue, resolve deficiencies and solve problems. It is on this note that I assume that want us all we all are leaders – either at individual or group level – as long as we take responsibility, accountability, service and restitution.

As you can’t lead your life without offering it those four demands, you can’t also lead people without giving them those quartet qualities. Those are the rewards for which Purposeful Leadership is based on. A purposeful leader emerges when the need for value reciprocation and its delivery is demanded. And after his emergence, he will realise that he is in the frame of leadership in order to respond to people’s calls.

Purposeful Leadership is highly different from Visionary Leadership. Purposeful Leadership places on you the cross of giving to your people, what they want in varied proportions and variations. It detests arrogance and besmircks imposing on the people you are leading because your emergence to the position have already explained what your followers want; the expectations are on you to meet them. The purpose of any leader is to find out a purpose for which he is called to lead.

Ademola Adeoye noted that “Many leaders can take the lead when there is peace, but only a few can lead the pack when the boat is being rocked.” When a leader knows the purpose for which his leadership stirs, it helps him in steering his leadership disposition. It takes recognition of followers’ values, beliefs and aspirations, if any leader wants to act in accordance to his purpose.

A purposeful leader emerges when there is a cause for it and resolving that cause will be the crux for which such leader courses his position. It comes with a loose nut which tying such is what a purposeful leader is bound to achieve. Failure to achieve that makes the reign of a leader to be insignificant and indifferent to the followers he is called to lead. When a leader defines his purpose, he amazingly dazzles and waltzes in alignment with the stem of his emergence. This is what happened to Gordon Brown – the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – after the Brexit referendum. Brown realised that he shares different beliefs, values and aspirations with his people which forced him to resign his position as the Prime Minister of United Kingdom. He exemplified that any leadership position is ephemeral and transient; and in realising that, leaders should sacrifice their interest for their followers’ interest. Suleimon Olanrewaju warned that “When leaders pander to their own interests, they squander great opportunities to make a difference and later wonder why they are unable to hit their goals.”

Edward Smith – arguably the best ever sailor – discovered that his purpose in the ill-fated Titanic ship was to save the lives of passengers on board in that unfortunate incident. Having define his purpose, he was able to saved more than seven hundred occupants of the ill-fated ship. When leading with a purpose become what drives a leader, relieving and succouring the followers bridge the gaps existing in leadership dispensation.

It may be the purpose of a leader to carve a vision for the people he leads; the purpose for which a leader is called to serve may be to champion new strategies which his followers could believe; or maybe a leader is to attain leadership position to blaze and ingrain values and worth in his followers. The bottom line is: Leaders who are committed to living up to their purposes leave behind them a resounding legacies that inscribe their names on their followers’ hearts.


Sulyman Sodeeq Abdulakeem is a writer who co-authored the book “Responsible Living: Live to Fulfill Your Potential.” 

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