LinkedIn VP: People don’t follow leaders, they follow purpose

Fred Kofman said mindful leadership is meant to inspire people to work together to achieve a shared objective

Published: Updated:

“True leaders have no followers. A true leader is simply the first one heading towards his/her purpose. People don’t follow leaders, they follow the purpose,” said Vice President of LinkedIn Fred Kofman, adding that they work for the mission, not for the leader.

Speaking during a session at the World Government Summit in Dubai at a session titled ‘45 Minute Journey to Mindful Leadership’, Kofman enlisted lack of accountability, lack of alignment with larger purpose, leading with incentives over invoking long-term commitment, and arrogance in a leader as clear traits of mindlessness that deter true leadership.

Likening mindfulness to being on a diet, when the mind is tempted to eat comforting sweets, Kofman further described it as ‘thinking long term, but acting in the moment, while considering one’s actions’. He pointed out that at the core of mindfulness are the choices that individuals make.

“It is not about what happens to individuals, but the way they choose to respond in a difficult situation and the conscious choices they make for a greater purpose rather than simply reacting – this is what makes the difference. Being mindful is about always asking what am I going to do, and why,” added Kofman.

Kofman also highlighted the gap between what people believe their responsibility is in an organization based on their individual function, and what their role is in the context of the organization’s long-term success and its greater purpose.

Kofman said mindful leadership is meant to inspire people to work together to achieve a shared objective.

He outlined possible solutions that can result from mindful leadership. Stressing on the importance of meditation and introspection, he termed gratitude and compassion as preconditions to mindful leadership and success.