Characteristics of a Purpose Driven Leader

In Purpose Driven Leadership I wrote about some purpose truths and said purpose driven leaders do things that matter and that will last long after they are gone. Author Tavis Smiley said, “The choices we make about the lives we live determine the kinds of legacies we leave.” If we want to be purpose driven leaders it requires choosing to embody these five characteristics:

1. Character driven- Legendary leaders are driven by their character. They understand the foundation of strong and lasting leadership is built with character. To be character driven requires knowing and following our values and beliefs no matter the situation. It’s important to remember our character comes through by our actions and attitude.

2. Servant focused- The switch from self serving to serving others can be a challenge because it’s human nature to focus on and take care of our self. To become a servant leader requires choosing to daily and intentionally serve those around us. When we do this overtime our mindset will move from self to serving others.

3. Potential lifter- Purpose driven leaders invest time to discover and unlock their people’s potential. They lift their people toward their potential and new levels of growth by providing trainings, mentorship, stretching opportunities and experiences. To further your knowledge about training I suggest reading Todd Lilies post “Results: The Reason Why Your Company Must Train.”

4. Tremendous confidence- An essential characteristic of a leader is confidence. Confidence is the “Belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities” (  If we want to have and maintain tremendous confidence then we need to focus on building our self-image and self-esteem. Those two areas have the ability to grow or destroy confidence. Below are a few practical ways to have and develop confidence:

  • Become comfortable with how you have been uniquely created: your personality, emotions, tendencies, and talents.
  • Be intentional about associating with people who are confident and have a positive attitude.
  • Focus on accomplishing small wins in your life which will allow you to see bigger wins.
  • Consistently have an intake of good by reading, listening, and attending things that will encourage and inspire you.

5. Excellent attitude- Having a positive and optimistic attitude is a non-negotiable when it comes to being a purpose driven leader. The great Winston Churchill said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”Great things happen when we chose to have an excellent attitude no matter the situation or circumstance.

Question: What are some other characteristics of a purpose driven leader?

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31 thoughts on “Characteristics of a Purpose Driven Leader

  1. I would add Mission Focused- knows what he was created for, knows the goals of his leadership and is focused on driving the group/organization in that direction, not getting caught up in tangents.

  2. Those are great summaries, Dan. I think you might add, although is surely covered in the characteristics you mentioned, work ethic. The way a leader will lead in front when they have to and don’t expect others to do what they wouldn’t or haven’t done themselves.

    I forget precisely how it goes, but Churchill also had another quote about attitude; a paraphrase, “A good attitude is to be able to go from one failure to the next with no loss of enthusiasm.” I know you love a good quote too!

  3. Excellent point…we must be intentional. We can’t “go with the flow” The flow isn’t always the right way to go. The flow won’t stretch you as an individual and it won’t change lives. The flow is simply what’s easy. “Narrow is the way…”

  4. I think the actual action confident even if we are not can raise us to true confidence. The fake it until you make it could work with confidence. I know at time I have to show or act confident even if I’m not so I can have the courage to do the things I fear. In doing so I have noticed my confidence increases. What do you think?

  5. Dan, I would have to add resolve. So many Leaders are faced with tough decisions and choices they have to make. They must have resolve in order to keep going and not be derailed by people that want to take them out. Great Post BTW.

  6. I would suggest that a leader needs to be open to constructive criticism without taking it personally.
    On a similar note, the ability to filter the good and bad. Be able to not get to high with praise, or too low with negativity.

    • I agree. It’s important to be able to take, handle, and learn from the criticism we receive. Thank you for stopping by and sharing. It’s always good to hear from you.

  7. I think being servant focused is the most important aspect of a purpose driven leader. Benefiting others is the real driving cause that’s going to motivate a team and motivate yourself. It’s having a purpose worth driving people towards :)

  8. Character is huge. If you don’t have good character, it is going to be extremely difficult to get people to follow you because they want to. They might follow you because they have to, but expect some leadership headaches.

    • I totally agree, Character and integrity are the foundation to good living and leading. Thanks for adding to the conversation. I always look forward to reading your insights.

  9. These are all great points, Dan. This probably wouldn’t go in a top 5 grouping, but I’d also add “willing to admit when they’re wrong.”