How to lead a purpose-driven team

Let’s look at how to lead a team that is built on the individual purposes of all team members.

New Work is often equalled with less hierarchy, more freedom, more empowerment. That’s necessary to attract new talents and get work done in complex situations. Setting up a purpose-driven team is one way to make New Work happen.

Unfortunately, there is a big misunderstanding in the concept of New Work:

“New Work” is often equated with “no leadership.”

Many leaders struggle with the concept of New Work due to one of the following reasons:

  • #1: Difficulty to find a way of leading between control and laissez-faire
  • #2: Shying away from tensions
  • #3: Not enough presence in daily work
  • #4: Lack of orientation and inspiration

It’s pretty simple to overcome such challenges by going in resonance with your team: New Leadership is more leadership, not less.

Here’s how, step by step:

Step 1: Redistribute roles and responsibilities

New Work means that there isn’t a traditional manager that coordinates and prescribes — yet, it doesn’t mean that these task are no longer performed.

Purpose-driven teams prefer to work with roles instead of job descriptions. Work is distributed in roles, and people pick up the ones that fit their talents and individual purposes. Start a role exercise by identifying the activities that are necessary to be successful.

Step 2: Learn consent decision-making

Many fail because they replace central decisions with the principle of “everyone decides.”

It can be frustrating and time-consuming to aim for decisions that make everyone in the team happy. So, surprise your team and suggest, for example, decisions by consent: This means to make a decision that is, in simple terms, good enough for now. If no one has a reasoned objection, the decision will be implemented.

Step 3: Improve your meetings

Make your meetings binding and relevant.

Yes, meetings can be engaging, fun and highly relevant: They should focus on roles (Step 1) and practice new ways of deciding (Step 2). Create focus by implementing check-ins. Spend time on clarifying tensions throughout the meetings. And check-out by learning what can be improved next. This way, new leadership gets a new quality!

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