What’s the Point of Leadership?

The main reason to lead is to ACCOMPLISH something, to ACHIEVE a goal, to get something DONE.

After all the hard work, after all the training, all the leadership coaching, all the courses, seminars and videos on leadership, all the talk about the qualities of great leaders – the measure of a leader is simply this: did the leader achieve his or her goals? Did he or she get done what was intended to get done?

This measure especially applies to your people: Are your people getting done what you want them to do?

What we consider an Exceptional Leader is a purpose-driven individual who inspires his or her people to be their very best while accomplishing worthy goals and purposes.

The key word in that definition is accomplishing. All the qualities and skills of an exceptional leader, all the leadership tools, all the team building, all the empowerment, all the management, and organizational development is for the sole purpose of getting something done. However, not just any old “something.” The “something” a leader wants to accomplish is a goal or objective that is exactly as he or she intended. This means the very first step of a leader is to work out his or her purpose, then the goals he or she wants to achieve. Goals must be complete, exact and specific. If they are not, then a leader will either fail to reach what he or she really wants or produce something else which is usually undesirable or inadequate.

We have all heard the expression, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” Truer words were never written or spoken. If you don’t carefully work out exactly what you want, you will surely get something else you don’t want – to include failure to get anything. This concept needs to be applied to a leader’s people as well. The leader has to communicate the exact purpose and goals of the organization, then communicate the purpose of and end results expected for each individual’s job. The leader also needs to show how each person’s job contributes to the overall success and purpose of the company.

Finally, the leader has to take any actions needed to get his or her people to produce their expected end results, to the highest standards. A leader can (and should) treat his or her people as well as possible, can empower them as much as possible, can create the best working environment possible – but all toward accomplishing an intended and stated goal. 

That might sound stupidly simple, but in fact this orientation is powerful and causes a person to be far more productive and engaged.

Finally, analytics (metrics, KPI, etc) measure objectively how productive each team member is and how effective the leader is in achieving the group’s goals.

The key point to all this is, if you are a business owner or executive at any level, always keep your eyes and mind on the company’s purpose and goals. And make sure your goals are well defined and clear in the first place.


Joe Kerner
Joe Kerner
Joe Kerner has been a business owner and management consultant for 30 years. He has worked with hundreds of businesses, business owners and executives, spanning several industries and professions. He is a recognized expert in such areas as leadership, management, organizational development, efficiency, personnel development and training, sales training and business planning. He has helped his client business increase their profitability, growth, efficiency, and productivity. He has consulted and coached businesses in such industries as health care, software development, biotech, construction, financial services, scientific instrument firms, systems analysis, travel, hospitals, and insurance. Joe is also an accomplished speaker and has delivered over 1,100 seminars and workshops covering such areas as leadership and management, operations, personnel development, and efficiency. In 1998, Joe was a co-founder of a very successful health care group in Virginia and North Carolina. He served as Vice President of Operations and managed the entire group. Under his leadership, this group increased revenue by 300-400% within three years. This group was sold for a high profit in 2013. Joe holds a Master of Science degree in Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He has also completed an extensive and rigorous management training program, the Organization Executive Course. This is an intensive 2,000-hour curriculum covering the fundamental principles, technology and advanced systems of management, leadership, organization, executive training, personnel development and management, management tools, marketing, and sales.

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  1. The pursuit of happiness, it is said, is one of the inalienable rights of humanity. And a lot is said about the need of happiness at work and I do not exclude that being happy at work makes it more pleasant.
    Frankly I do not believe this, in absolute terms. On the other hand, happiness does not depend always on us.
    Life, freedom, are right connected with our birth, but the pursuit of happiness does not convince me, even because it call for a long process and conditions of context that must take part in.
    I rather that the triad life, liberty and happiness should be replaced with, life, liberty and sense of responsibility.

  2. Joe – I am so glad someone else realizes that leaders are people who accomplish the goals of the organization for the success of the organization. So many “leadership” post on LinkedIn talk about keeping your team happy but miss the point that a happy team that is not productive is a failure. Thanks for sharing.