Eight Methods to Uncover Your Team’s Higher Purpose

Soundarya Mahalakshmi

Last Updated: December 14, 2023
no preview

A collage of paper cut-out people forming the word "team".

A supervisor’s biggest concern arises when entering a team meeting to find employees engaged in arguments, displaying apathy, or being inconsiderate towards one another. Dysfunctional team dynamics negatively impact both the company’s culture and its financial performance. Effective teams thrive on purposeful interactions, acknowledging behavioural disparities, and striving for effective communication among members. It falls on the manager’s responsibility to prioritise team development.

High-performance teams are united in their pursuit of a shared objective, maintaining exceptional standards in their endeavours. As time progresses, team members within these high-performance groups continually refine their individual skills, contributing to the collective strength of the team. When your company boasts high-performance teams, you can depend on these adept professionals to handle intricate and delicate tasks with finesse and excellence. Moreover, fostering such teams in the workplace yields a multitude of supplementary advantages.

Envision An Inspired Workforce

Every team member walks in with a bounce in their step, eager to dive into the day’s tasks. They’re not just here to punch the clock; they’re driven by a shared passion and a sense of purpose that fuels their every move. In this inspired workforce, collaboration isn’t just a buzzword—it’s the heartbeat of every project. Ideas flow freely, bouncing from one person to another, creating an unstoppable momentum. Each individual feels valued, their unique strengths celebrated and leveraged to propel the team forward.

A bustling office space with professionals diligently working at desks and tables, creating a productive and collaborative atmosphere.

But it’s not just about the work itself. It’s about a collective mission that transcends the mundane. These inspired individuals are connected by a sense of purpose, a shared vision that gives meaning to their efforts. They understand how their contributions fit into the larger tapestry, and that knowledge ignites a fire within them. In this environment, challenges are seen as opportunities, failures as stepping stones to growth. The team isn’t afraid to push boundaries, fuelled by the belief that they’re part of something greater than themselves. And that sense of belonging, of being on a journey together, creates a culture where innovation thrives and success becomes a shared achievement. An inspired workforce isn’t just a group of individuals working together—it’s a powerhouse of passion, purpose, and endless potential.

A workforce can be inspired through a good culture – Zappos sets a remarkable example with its team-centric culture, placing a strong emphasis on employee happiness. Inspired by the words of former CEO Tony Hsieh, “Businesses often overlook culture, and in the end, they suffer because you can’t deliver top-notch services with dissatisfied employees.” The shoe retailer prioritises employee happiness, recognising it as a key factor in delivering excellent service.

To build the perfect team, Zappos focuses on hiring individuals who align with their culture. Apart from regular interviews, they conduct culture assessments to gauge how candidates fit within the team dynamics. Beyond hiring practices, Zappos involves its employees in shaping the company’s core values. Renowned for its decentralised management approach, Zappos replaces rigid hierarchies with adaptable, self-managing networks.

Employees at Zappos enjoy the freedom to assist customers in ways they believe are best, deviating from strict protocols. This approach fosters an environment where staff members are empowered to make independent decisions, providing personalised assistance that both customers and employees value.

Discovering Your Team’s Purpose 

an arrow directs towards the word "goal" written in bold letters.

This involves identifying the core elements that unite individuals towards a common goal. This can be achieved through individual exploration, shared stories, values alignment, impact assessment, feedback and iteration, visualisation and reminder, and leadership reinforcement.

Individual exploration involves encouraging team members to reflect on their personal values, energises them at work, and instances of fulfilment. Shared stories reveal underlying themes that resonate with others, leading to a collective “aha!” moment. Values alignment helps identify how personal values align with the team’s and company’s values, emphasising their importance. Impact assessment helps individuals understand the tangible impact of their contributions, illustrating how it influences clients, customers, or internal stakeholders. Feedback and iteration help refine the narrative of purpose as the team evolves. Visual representations or reminders of the team’s purpose, such as posters or shared documents, serve as a constant reference point.

Leadership reinforcement encourages leaders to embody the team’s purpose in their actions, decisions, and communications, serving as role models for others. By following these steps, you can uncover layers of motivation and collective purpose that bind your team together, fostering a sense of belonging and fulfilment in their work. A possible way to achieve this is to lead by example, even if it means to be brutally honest. Glenn Kelman knows a thing or two about being humble. In fact, it’s a method he’s utilised to successfully bring his company into the online real estate industry. Redfin is an online real estate brokerage firm that gives back two-thirds of the commission that traditional agents charge. Real estate agents hated it, and started blacklisting anyone who used the service.

So, instead of keeping the problem quiet, Kelman started a company blog that focused on many of the awful aspects of the real estate business. He also posted about internal struggles within the company, and even criticised himself on many occasions. The blog was raw and authentic. Customers loved the transparency. They appreciated the fact that a CEO could make fun of himself and the dirty parts of his industry. Since starting the Redfin blog in 2006, business has grown dramatically.

Recognise the Need For Authenticity

Authenticity is crucial in uncovering a team’s purpose. It fosters genuine engagement, trust, and connection by allowing team members to express their true motivations and values. It also acknowledges and celebrates diversity, as not everyone has the same motivations or priorities. Authenticity thrives in an environment where vulnerability is embraced, encouraging team members to share their doubts, fears, and uncertainties about their purpose. Leaders who share their genuine motivations and struggles in aligning with the team’s purpose set the tone for authenticity, encouraging others to do the same. 

Authenticity also honours individual contributions, highlighting instances where team members’ authentic expressions have positively influenced team dynamics or decisions. Lastly, authenticity encourages self-reflection, encouraging individuals to align their actions with their true values and motivations. Embracing authenticity as a guiding principle will fuel your team’s journey towards discovering and living their higher purpose. Team members can foster authenticity by sharing personal stories, transparent decision-making, encouraging diverse opinions, organising team-building activities, publicly acknowledging team members’ efforts, providing a flexible work environment, creating authentic communication channels, and exhibiting a consistent leadership style. Open discussions about work challenges and successes, such as a project manager discussing a past failure, can help build trust and authenticity. Leaders should also encourage diverse opinions and perspectives in brainstorming sessions, creating a safe space for expressing unconventional ideas without fear of judgement. Providing flexibility in work hours or locations, creating authentic communication channels, and consistently seeking feedback and admitting mistakes can also contribute to a culture of authenticity.

Turn The Authentic Message Into a Constant Message

To maintain authenticity as a constant message within a team, it is essential to integrate it into communication and actions. This can be achieved through regular communication, sharing stories that highlight the power of authenticity, setting expectations, fostering a feedback culture, leading by example, acknowledging and appreciating instances of authenticity, providing training and development resources on emotional intelligence, communication, and self-awareness, and reinforcing alignment with the team’s purpose and values.

Repetition with Variance: A manager consistently emphasises the importance of collaboration in achieving team goals. During team meetings, they share different success stories where collaboration led to significant achievements.

Incorporate Core Values:A company focuses on sustainability. Regular communication highlights how various initiatives align with the company’s core value of environmental stewardship.

Leadership Commitment: The CEO consistently discusses the importance of work-life balance. They actively promote flexible working hours and utilise various platforms to reinforce this message regularly.

Regular Communication Channels: An HR department sends monthly newsletters to all employees. These newsletters always include a section on the company’s commitment to diversity, showcasing different employee stories and initiatives. 

Regular communication is crucial in promoting authenticity within the team, as it helps to discuss its impact on team dynamics and decision-making. Sharing stories that highlight the power of authenticity can showcase how it has positively impacted projects, relationships, or personal growth. Setting expectations and encouraging team members to bring their true selves to work promotes an environment where honesty and openness are celebrated. Fostering a feedback culture that embraces authenticity fosters a safe environment for team members to express themselves without fear of judgement.

Stimulate Individual Learning

To encourage individual learning within a team, it is essential to create an environment that fosters curiosity, growth, and skill development. This can be achieved by encouraging ownership, providing learning resources, promoting skill sharing, supporting experimentation, providing regular feedback, creating personalised learning plans, acknowledging and celebrating individual learning achievements, and fostering leadership support.

Encouraging ownership involves empowering team members to take ownership of their learning journey, identifying areas for growth, and setting personal development goals. Offering access to various resources, such as online courses, workshops, webinars, books, and mentorship opportunities, can cater to diverse learning styles. Promoting skill sharing encourages team members to share their expertise and skills, and fostering a culture that values learning through trial and error can help create a safe space for learning from mistakes.

Providing constructive feedback and a growth mindset can help create a culture where mistakes are seen as opportunities for learning. Creating personalised learning plans and acknowledging individual learning achievements can help track progress and foster a culture of continuous learning. Fostering a culture that values and supports individual learning can lead to a team that continuously evolves, adapts, and grows together.

Skill Development Workshops: Hosting workshops or training sessions on specific skills relevant to employees’ roles. For instance, a marketing team might have workshops on social media marketing trends or analytics tools.

Mentorship Programmes: Pairing junior employees with seasoned professionals within the organisation to facilitate knowledge transfer and skill development. This allows for personalised guidance and learning.

Cross-Departmental Collaboration: Encouraging employees from different departments to collaborate on projects. This exposure allows them to learn from diverse perspectives and gain new skills outside their expertise.

Continual Education Support: Providing financial support or time-off for employees pursuing further education, certifications, or attending relevant conferences and seminars.

Turn Mid Level Managers Into Purpose-Driven Leaders

Transforming mid level managers into purpose-driven leaders involves a strategic approach that aligns their personal values with the organisation’s mission. This involves clarifying the company’s overarching purpose and values, encouraging individual purpose alignment, providing autonomy for managers to lead in ways that align with their values while supporting the company’s goals, offering leadership training and development, pairing managers with mentors or coaches who exemplify purpose-driven leadership, creating meaningful goals that reflect both business objectives and the team’s collective purpose, fostering a purposeful culture within their teams, and establishing a feedback loop that encourages managers to reflect on their leadership style.

Senior leadership should exemplify purpose-driven leadership, reinforcing its importance and inspiring mid level managers to follow suit. By integrating purpose into their leadership approach and providing necessary support and resources, mid level managers can evolve into purpose-driven leaders who motivate and inspire their teams to achieve meaningful goals. By fostering a culture of purpose, fostering continuous feedback, and leading by example, mid level managers can evolve into purpose-driven leaders who inspire their teams to achieve meaningful goals.

Defining Clear Objectives Linked to Purpose: Encourage mid-level managers to define team objectives that align with the company’s overarching purpose. For instance, setting quarterly goals that directly contribute to the company’s social responsibility initiatives if that’s part of the organisation’s purpose.

Facilitating Purpose-Oriented Workshops: Conduct workshops or training sessions focusing on connecting individual and team tasks with the larger purpose. Managers can guide their teams to understand how their daily work contributes to the company’s mission.

Encouraging Values-Based Decision Making: Emphasise the importance of aligning decisions with the company’s values and purpose. For instance, a manager could lead discussions on how certain decisions contribute to the company’s environmental sustainability goals.

Enhancing Career Selection With Mentoria

Having a higher purpose is essential for teams that want to be successful. It provides a framework for decision-making, motivates and engages team members, and helps teams achieve their full potential. Mentoria can help mentees explore their values, strengths, and passions. This can help mentees gain a better understanding of themselves and their potential to contribute to a team’s higher purpose. Mentors can provide mentees with valuable insights and advice as they navigate their careers and professional goals. This can help mentees identify and pursue opportunities that align with their interests and values.

Looking For Guidance?

Choose your ideal path from 12,000+ career options.