The Why is the Way

Being a leader is a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Leaders are those that are willing to take the tasks that others won’t do and ensure that they get completed in the best way possible for their team.

The journey is incredibly long and difficult, and it’s often one that others have a hard time seeing. In fact, many people who follow leaders don’t understand why it is that they are being asked to do something in particular, which may lead to discontent among the ranks.

Therefore, one of the most important keys for any leader is that he or she is able to effectively inform their followers of why they are leading the way that they are.


To be fair, there is a good reason that many leaders get to where they are. They are driven towards their goals and they do whatever it takes to get there, no matter what others say. However, once a leader is no longer pushing themselves, but instead pulling others, it’s vital that they are willing to change their method of thinking. In many cases, many successful leaders will tell you that the difference between them and mediocre leaders is the ability to change the world through the understanding of explaining why.

As the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers Michael Hyatt once said, “Intentional leaders know the answer to the question, ‘why?’ Why am I doing this? Why are we doing this? If they don’t know the answer, they make it clear before proceeding toward an objective.” After all, a project without a purpose is just a worthless task.

While it may be difficult, leaders need to realize that not everyone is programmed the same way that they are. Therefore, answering the question of, “why?” could be the difference between success and failure, especially when it comes time to motivate those around you. Here are some other reasons that “why” is so vital for in business.

Why Provides Clarity

When followers know exactly why a task is being given to them, they have a much better understanding of what is expected from them. Not only will motivation to complete the task increase, but the understanding of the project will also become more significant. Leaders who want their followers to succeed at their highest rate can increase the likelihood of this happening by informing them why they should be doing a task, as this gives them a more well-rounded understanding of the expectations.

Why Allows People To Buy In

The American author John Maxwell once stated, “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” This is a great quote for understanding the importance of why, as it shows just how important the impression of a leader is. While working for a company or business, employees will encounter countless projects that they have to work on. However, the one thing that is likely to remain stable the entire time is the person who is guiding them along the way. When there is a connection between an employee and a leader, assuming it’s a positive one, people will be more emotionally attached to completing projects effectively.

Why Creates Commitment

In order to properly complete any project, employees need to be committed to the tasks. However, leaders cannot expect their followers to feel as dedicated and driven as they may be. That is, unless they answer the question of “why” during the beginning stages of the task. The more that a person is committed to a task or project, the more effort they will put in and the greater they will want to see it succeed.

Why Unifies People

If you take a look at any Fortune 500 company, you’ll quickly realize that not everyone in the organization does the same thing. For example, Facebook has employees that work on design, development, marketing, and other varying tasks. However, it’s hard for them to all come together without an understanding of why they are doing it. If their goal is to be the greatest social media company in the world, then an understanding of why they are doing what they are doing will bring them all together to do their best job as individuals.

Why Defines An Outcome

In order to know where they are headed, employees need to know why they should be reaching that goal. Steve Jobs, who is arguably one of the greatest leaders of our time, is known for giving a speech to John Sculley during Sculley’s time at Pepsi. Jobs asked Sculley, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want to change the world?” By defining the outcome and objective that Apple had, Jobs was able to convince Sculley to leave Pepsi and we all know how that worked out. Even for leaders who don’t aim to be one of the largest tech companies in the world, explaining to others why you have certain objectives will get them on board to understand your desire and passion.

There is something special that sets leaders apart from others. If being a leader was easy, we’d have plenty of more individuals who find themselves in successful leadership positions. But this obviously isn’t the case and many people struggle with being successful leaders.

Leaders who set themselves apart from others are able to explain to others “why” they want to accomplish their ambitions, which allows for them to get the most from those around them.

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