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  • Writer's pictureKathy Miles

Instilling a Team Sense of Purpose

Team Purpose

High performing, cohesive teams are a key ingredient for an organisation to be successful and achieve its objectives. In order to build high performing, cohesive teams – it is important for team members to have a clear and unified sense of purpose.

What is a Sense of Purpose?

A sense of purpose is essentially being able to understand how your actions (what you do every day) impacts the larger picture. The tricky part is ensuring that there is a shared/aligned sense of purpose across all employees.

Employees come into work each day for a different reason. This is their personal sense of purpose, the reason for keeping them motivated to go to work. This motivation might be to get a regular salary and pay the bills, it may be to enable them to travel, or it might be to support their family.

The company will also have objectives and goals that the organisation wants to achieve through their Strategic Plan.

The part that ties them together, which is often overlooked, is the team sense of purpose. A team sense of purpose should link an individual’s personal sense of purpose with the organisations objectives. Leaders need to instill in their team members an understanding of the following:

  • The organisation’s objectives (what it wants to achieve);

  • Why the organisation wants to achieve these objectives (what it will mean for everyone);

  • What role individuals play in meeting the objectives;

  • What role the team plays in meeting the objectives;

  • What success will look like; and

  • The process for overcoming problems/obstacles.

Why is a Team Sense of Purpose Important?

Through understanding of the team purpose, individuals learn how their contribution to the organisation can make a major difference. They become a unified unit with a shared sense of value and a “we’re in it together” attitude, which is a very helpful tool to drive employee engagement. Being a part of a high-performing, successful team that truly works together is something that increases engagement and motivation levels in employees.

Having a clear sense of purpose also assists in providing motivation to work and an appreciation of the work that is completed. This ensures that a role becomes so much more than just a job, it becomes something that the employee enjoys doing. The flow on from this is that employees will strive to work to their full potential, they will put in the extra miles and they will be dedicated to their work.

Tips for Creating a Team Sense of Purpose:

Here are some simple tips to help you create a team sense of purpose:

  • Align the team to the organisation’s vision, mission, values and objectives. This requires sitting down as a team and analysing each of these things in order to identify what functions the team completes, or could complete, in order to assist the organisation in achieving its vision, mission, values and objectives. Creating these links is essential to ensure that team members understand how their contribution fits into the larger picture.

  • Encourage team members to share their own personal work goals and then look at how these can be incorporated into the team purpose. Sharing of goals can help to bond a team and by allowing this type of sharing, it shows employee’s that you care about them as an individual and want to help them succeed and achieve their goals.

  • Develop a shared list of team values. This list should cover things like how the team will operate, how tasks will be approached, how problems/obstacles will be tackled and overcome and how communication will be managed. Creating this list together as a team ensures that team members feel like they played an integral part of developing the guidelines and boundaries for the team.

  • Develop a positive, inclusive team culture. Discuss team roles as a group and ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of who does what and why each role is important. This helps to ensure that everyone feels included in the team at all times. Team building activities also aid in nurturing a team culture and working together to solve problems.

  • Communicate and share regularly. There should be regular communication to update team members on what each person is currently working on, the progress towards achieving the team goals and shared problem solving. All of these things assist in keeping the teams purpose top of mind.

  • Lead by Example. As a leader, you need to constantly lead by example, demonstrating the behaviours, actions, attitudes and values that you would like your team members to embrace and follow.

  • Constantly paint the picture of success. Leaders should constantly keep painting the picture of success – what will it look like, feel like and be like once the team has achieved its purpose and goals? By reminding team members of these things, they will be encouraged to strive that little bit further to make it happen.

  • Motivate your team members to achieve. Even the most exciting team purpose can fall flat without appropriate motivation. Listen to your team members to determine what motivates them, what inspires them and what will encourage them to keep going, even in challenging times. Understanding these things then allows leaders to implement rewards and recognition that will suit each individual.

  • Allow controlled risk taking. Sometimes to achieve what needs to be achieved, we need to allow our employees to work independently towards their goals. This may sometimes involve the need to work outside of the normal boundaries. Controlled risk taking is sometimes imperative to make improvements, win new customers, develop new products etc.

About PDI Solutions

PDI Solutions can work with organisations to develop and deliver training solutions tailored to your particular organisation around leadership, team building or any other professional development. Contact us today for a free consultation at or visit our website at

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