It has been a week now since our ThirdRiver team attended the Jubilee Professional Conference at the Westin Convention Center. And now I have had some time to think about the conference’s impact on myself and our team. Great leaders care about the people they work with and for. This is something I strive for in my professional and personal lives. Jubilee Professional works to get speakers from a variety of backgrounds to discuss how they integrate work and faith in their respective professions. We spend half a day in a ballroom full of professionals--some in their first year out in the working world, others of us veterans in our fields. Our team, featuring a range of backgrounds and levels of experience, fit right in.
Looking back on our time listening to, learning from, and connecting with other business professionals in Pittsburgh and from around the country, I was reminded of the importance of having a greater purpose at work. Every speaker was working in a field where they saw themselves making a difference. It didn’t matter if the individual working in insurance sales, radio, or physicatry. If he made documentaries about poverty, ran a seminary, or she raised thousands of dollars for clean water. One wrote songs, another wrote speeches, many wrote books. But all saw themselves as playing a role in something bigger.
This greater purpose was not just present for those who worked in the nonprofit sector. Individuals in the for-profit sector saw themselves as doing something important as well. These were leaders working for a cause. They gathered people daily--employees, volunteers, donors--to make valuable changes to the world around them. The leaders invited those around them to contribute to something greater than themselves.
I have friends and clients that wake up on a Monday morning wondering if the work they will do that day will accomplish anything. Work without a goal or greater purpose behind can feel like digging a hole at the beach--every time the tide rushes in it fills the hole with more water and sand.
So what made these leaders stand out? What made their work important enough that they could get others to rally with them?
Each of the speakers relayed how their work helps people. It wasn’t about what awards they had gotten, places they had traveled, or things they had done. What made each person’s work great and inspirational were the people they worked with and for. This may not come as a surprise to many since relationships are key in getting jobs and creating a great work environment. I came away remembering that for servant leaders and great leaders, relationships are the job.