Shannon Banks on the Outthinkers Podcast

Unlocking the Power of Social Leadership and Purpose

Shannon Banks, managing director of Be Leadership and author of the new book,  Because: 12 Essential Skills for Connecting How You Lead With Why, joined the Outthinkers Podcast to share her perspectives on social leadership, including how individual purpose links to company purpose and why developing key skills in leaders is critical for organizations to bring inspiration to life through their people. This post summarizes Banks’ perspectives on trends driving the need for social leadership today along with advice for discovering your leadership purpose.

What is social leadership?

Social leadership means having the skills, the mindset, and the perspectives you need to have an impact both in business and in broader society. Banks and her company, Be Leadership, believe that purpose comes to life in organizations through people. Companies who develop social leaders can manifest their purpose into reality.

Three trends driving the need for social leadership:

  1. Expanding technology:

    The sheer amount of technology that is available in the world is driving a need for organizations to remain human-centric.

  2. Increasing uncertainty and change: Organizations need leaders who can move with agility.

  3. Growing need for purpose:

    Customers and employees are demanding that organizations have a purpose in society.

Essential social leadership skills:

Be Leadership believes organizational change starts at an individual level. An individual leader can have a huge impact on culture. Social leadership focuses on the behaviors you perform as a leader. In her new book, Because: 12 Essential Skills for Connecting How You Lead With Why, Banks dives into 12 skills that are most essential for having the greatest impact both in the business and in society.

She divides the skills into two categories:

  1. Relationship and connection skills: These include skills like accountability, presence, curiosity, and flexibility.

  2. Context leadership skills: These skills related to remaining agile in the face of complexity.

Leaders need to align how they lead using those skills with their individual and organizational purpose.

How to identify your purpose

Banks recommends focusing on three pillars to identify your purpose:

  1. Your strengths:  Assess your social leadership skills using Be Leadership’s free assessment tool.
  2.  Your values: Many people confuse strengths and values. Your values should be what is important to you.
  3. Your passions: What do actually enjoy spending time on?

To identify your purpose, look for the connections between those activities. Dig under the surface to figure out why you you love those activities.

Work on purpose can also be done at an organizational level. Work with your teams to connect their individual purpose to the purpose of the organization. By connecting each individual’s purpose, you can bring the purpose of the organization to life.

Shannon Banks describes social leadership on the Outthinkers Podcast
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