If you own a business, manage people or just work with them, one thing you need to clearly understand is that people do not work for you. I hear it all the time — “He works for me,” or “She works for the company.” People even say this about themselves — “I work for ‘fill in the blank.’ ” You do not work for anyone or anything; you work for a purpose.

If you are lucky, it is a purpose that you share with the business in which you spend your time. Most businesses have never taken the time to do a few simple things to clarify purpose and ensure that you, the team member, clearly understand it and align with it. But before I give you some tips on this, promise me that you will stop saying, “work for” and begin saying, “work with” when talking about your profession. Promise?

• Clarity of purpose. In both business and life, we need to clearly understand our purpose — the why. I say professionally and personally because separating these two areas can lead to more stress and frustration than having them co-exist in harmony. Purpose is the “why you exist” of your business, it is not “what you do” or even “how you do it,” so be careful not to confuse these and get down deep to discover the purpose.

• Start with what and ask why. As a business, write down what you do. Something like sell insurance or make cupcakes or build houses. Then, ask yourself a series of questions: Why is this important? What does that matter? Why is it important? What does that matter? Repeat these questions and answers several times. This simple process will help you dig deeper to understand the real, true purpose of why you do what you do.

• Four types of purpose. Generally, a purpose falls into one of four categories: service to others; search for knowledge and truth; pursuit of beauty and excellence; or desire to change the world. Look for the statements in your answers that give you energy and excitement. You’ll know when you have it right.

• Personal purpose aligned with company purpose. Now, lead from the front rather than the back. A “bosshole” is one that gets behind others and tells them what to do. A true leader gets out in front and leads others with purpose. To do this, a business must understand the personal purposes of the people who work inside the walls of that organization and work to align these purposes with the purpose of the business. Clearly defining both is only the beginning. Understanding the meaning and living (working) with purpose is key. You’ll discover along the way a few people who do not align and thus likely need to exit — beware.

People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. Old saying, yes. Still true, yes. If your team does not know how much you care, they have two options: assume you do not care at all or assume you only care about yourself. Go change this in your organization now. A simple start is to change your language from “for” to “with” and follow it with discovery and alignment of purpose. To find out more about purpose discovery, visit petracoach.wpengine.com in the resource section or contact us for worksheets that will help.

This story was originally published on The Tennessean.