Home » Mission-Driven Leader: 7 Ways To Become A Great Leader
Apr,2022

Mission-Driven Leader: 7 Ways To Become A Great Leader

Did you know that mission-driven leaders can positively impact their spheres of influence while maintaining the integrity of their product development, profit, and social responsibility?

Becoming a mission-driven leader gives you the option to transform yourself, your career, and your community. Whether you want to become a mission-driven employee or leader or help create a mission-driven company, you can take steps to do so today.

A mission-driven business helps build a positive company culture and gives a sense of purpose. Those at higher levels in a company are usually more aware of its mission statement and business strategies. Still, it’s crucial to establish a purpose-driven culture at all levels.

The more steps you take to become a great leader, the more social good you can do. High-performance leaders inspire employee engagement and can even create world-class leadership teams.

Before diving in, let’s establish the foundation.

What Does It Mean To Be Mission-Driven?

Mission-driven means you work toward a goal, dream, or cultural norm more than just an achievement. A few mission-driven companies’ examples are:

  • Tiki drive-in
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Patagonia
  • Everlane

These companies dedicate themselves to a goal bigger than business sales. For example, Trader Joe’s is a grocery store chain, but they focus on creating sustainable packaging and food that taste’s great.

Everlane focuses on exceptional quality, ethical factories, and radical transparency. First, they spend months finding the best factories worldwide. Then, each factory receives a compliance audit to evaluate factors like fair wages, reasonable hours, and working environment.

So Why Is It Important To Be Mission-Driven?

Forbes says, “Your mission remains underutilized when you seek to improve your organization’s success, productivity, and performance without focusing on the mission. When you fail to unite brand and culture with a mission, you fail your employees and customers.”

Articulating a mission provides individuals and companies with a centrality of focus. That said, mission-driven entrepreneurs, individuals, and leaders are likely to make it further down the road to success due to their focus.

In fact, according to Imperative’s research, purpose-oriented employees are 54% more likely to stay at a company for more than five years and 30% more likely to be high performers than those who work for a paycheck.

How to Become A Mission-Driven Leader

So, now that you know what a mission-driven leader is and why being one is essential, you might be wondering what the practical steps are to becoming one.

Mission Tiki Drive-In is an excellent example of how a mission-driven leader can turn a company into a driven organization. Los Angeles Tiki Drive-In works to keep America’s pastime and family time alive by making movies affordable and unique.

Tiki Drive-In states that family time is rare, and movie tickets often break families’ budgets. So to answer this need, they work to make their drive-in satisfy the national thirst for affordable, good, quality family entertainment.

But how do individuals create organizations that bring about so much change? They become mission-driven leaders. Here’s a list we’ve put together that can help you on your path to becoming the leader you’ve always wanted to be.

1. Build Loyalty Among Followers

Great leaders build loyalty through time, integrity, and a clear mission. Genuinely loyal employees see their leader as someone worth following. Other companies can top paychecks, but loyalty is a core attribute of leadership success.

So how can you establish loyalty among your workers?

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Invest In Those You Lead:

Remember the random details they share about their lives. Talk to them about how well they did when they accomplished a task. Give constructive feedback and build them up.

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Maintain Your Integrity At All Costs:

While it may feel more accessible, or more like a leader, to appear perfect, part of this means owning your mistakes.
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Own Up To Your Mistakes:

Leaders are human, just like their employees. So if you make a mistake, refuse the urge to let someone else take the fall for it. Owning up to your own mistakes will increase loyalty among your followers.
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Ensure Your Mission Is Clear:

Articulate it through a brief statement and live it out as you lead. Why should your employees follow your mission if you don’t follow it?

2. Establish a Sense of Resiliency

You are a leader because others follow you. Therefore, if you want to be a mission-driven leader, it’s vital to embody the traits of your mission through resiliency. When we say traits, we refer to the fact that missions can go beyond the tangible.

For example, consider Everlane’s mission to focus on transparency in its partnership with ethical factories. While their desired score of 90 is tangible, their resiliency in finding the best factories, engaging with the people there, and establishing a partnership is not. Instead, it’s an embodiment of their core mission.

The more you embody resiliency as a leader, the more you will establish an atmosphere of resiliency with those around you.

  • Work proactively, not reactively, as much as possible
  • Focus on your mission and let it drive you
  • Bring your team with you
  • Take setbacks in stride

A team can go much further than an individual. The more you create a collaborative environment, the more you establish a sense of resiliency.

3. Create Community

Community is a valuable source of creativity, feedback, and encouragement. As you begin your journey to become a mission-driven leader, focus on how you can build community in this process.
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Engage with those around you

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Open meetings for feedback and constructive criticism

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Take polls for anonymous feedback on your mission

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Encourage employees/teammates to be open

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Lead by example

A strong community will set you apart from other leaders. A mission-driven leader should be approachable, open to feedback, and strong in their beliefs about the mission. The more you create space for the community to form, the more you open yourself up to this possibility.

Everlane is an excellent example of a mission-driven company that seeks to establish relationships with the factories they partner with. They invest months in finding the best factories and continually visiting those factories. This investment builds relationships that create community.

Creating community takes time and effort, but pursuing it as you become a mission-driven leader will bring outstanding results.

4. Increase Self-Awareness

Today’s society desperately needs self-awareness, and the best leaders are arguably the most self-aware. Self-awareness helps you identify your mission, strong points, and areas for growth. It also enables you to engage with those around you and build up your employees/teammates.

Increase your self-awareness proactively by:

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Asking for feedback on how you are perceived by those you engage with

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Take time to identify your core values and why they are your core values

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Identify areas of strength and growth via a personality test

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Educate yourself on nonverbal communication

The more self-aware you are, the better you can present yourself to those you lead. For example, if you consider yourself an empathetic leader but communicate harshly, it’s essential to be aware of this discrepancy.

Self-awareness will help you establish your presence to align with your mission.

5. Produce Freedom for Creativity

Followers feel safe when they trust their leader has their best interests in mind. To create a feeling of safety for those you lead, be intentional to establish a healthy environment where mistakes are accepted.

Author John C. Maxwell says, “Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.” Failing forward is only possible when there is the freedom to fail. Mission-driven leaders understand that failing is part of the creative growth process.

Produce freedom for creativity by exemplifying this trait in your leadership. First, take risks, go for the unlikely, and dare to fail. Then, use your failures to move forward in your mission and lead others to do the same.

When those you lead see your pursuit of excellence, and the occasional resulting failure, you produce freedom for them to try (and sometimes fail). Freedom increases the possibility of creativity and success down the road.

Bonus Tip

Tip: The occasional failure is worth the potential of creating something genuinely transformative to your mission.

6. Balance Priorities

As you grow in your mission-driven leadership, it’s important to learn to say no to the good opportunities so you can say yes to the great opportunities. Whether you lead a small nonprofit, a large corporation, a team of volunteers, or an executive team, balancing priorities is essential.

To grow in your ability to balance your to-do list, return to your mission. If you are genuinely mission-driven, your mission should drive the yes or no behind what you invest in.

What are the core factors that create your mission? How do your specific opportunities reinforce, undermine, or play a neutral role in the mission? Consider this checklist from Liquid Planner when deciding how to prioritize your commitments or potential opportunities:

  • What is urgent vs. essential?
  • Assess the value of your tasks
  • Order tasks by estimated effort

And don’t forget the power of simply saying no because the more you do, the less energy you have for your most important priorities.

7. Establish Performance Goals

Last but not least, establish performance goals to help you track your progress. Becoming a mission-driven leader takes time. So often, leaders see the lasting transformation rather than the process it took to get there.

Establishing goals to track your performances is a tangible way to help you reach an intangible goal: becoming a mission-driven leader.

First, ask what areas you want to grow in—are you a leader of a large corporation? Maybe you want to grow in engagement with those you lead. Perhaps you want to learn how to efficiently and effectively offload projects to avoid micromanagement.

Next, identify where you need to grow. For example, in what ways could your team be healthier, and how do you directly impact their health? Does your team need more space for creativity yet continually schedules back-to-back meetings?

Finally, ask how your team’s current tasks align with your mission. If you are a mission-driven leader, your tasks should come into alignment and support your mission.

As you create goals, answer the following questions:

Can you become an author without a degree?

What specific goals do I need to meet?

Can you become an author without a degree?

How can I track my leadership growth via team/employee feedback?

Can you become an author without a degree?

How am I perceived? (Consider tracking this monthly to pinpoint growth)

This process may take longer than expected, but it will be worth it. Take the time necessary to identify, set, and execute your goals.

How Powerful, Mission-Driven Leadership Can Change the World

Mission-driven leaders are influential because they lead their team to something bigger than themselves. For example, revenue goals, website hits, and investment returns are essential to keep a business running, but they are not the mission.

Trader Joe’s mission to provide tasty food and sustainable packaging defines this grocery chain. In the same way, Everlane’s core is its focus on interpersonal, ethical relationships with factories. Tiki Drive-In would be just another drive-in without its mission to create an affordable space for families to spend time together.

Your mission transcends the tangible. While we can’t quantify ethics or quality time, both have the power to change the world.

Articulate your mission and then lead your team toward it with power. Leadership is necessary to keep a business running, but a mission-driven leader can change the organization and even the world.

Author

Sarah Rexford
Content Writer

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