Why vision is key to great leadership
We often describe great leaders as ‘visionaries’ – but what does that really mean?
The dictionary definition of vision (as it relates to leadership) is the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.
Leadership is, at its core, all about vision. To be a great leader, you must be continuously taking your team on a journey of improvement towards a better future. Exactly what that better future looks like depends on your vision and your ability to combine ideas, imagination and dreams into a powerful leadership vision.
When you don’t have a vision, you tend to lack focus and direction. You may also feel like you don’t have real purpose, or that you’re not making a difference in your organisation. Having a strong vision will bring back that clarity and focus, and allow you to find your sense of passion and purpose again.Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens - Carl Jung Click To Tweet
Leadership vision gives direction
A good leadership vision is a clear and aspirational picture of the future. It requires you to be able to see the big picture in order to make big decisions about the way forward. Great leaders are able to look beyond the restrictions of the status quo and see what is possible in the future, and how to get there.
When you can see where you’re heading, it means you can prepare for the future. A clear vision also means that you can make better leadership decisions now.
Setbacks and challenges are less stressful when you know where you’re heading; steering a course through rocky waters with the shore in sight is much easier than blindly trying to find the right way Click To Tweet
Leadership vision provides focus
Having a clear vision also gives you focus. Instead of becoming distracted with every issue or opportunity that crops up, you can see what’s important based on how it contributes to, or detracts from, your vision.
Prioritisation is an essential leadership skill, but tools like the Eisenhower matrix that measure importance and urgency are hard to implement if you don’t know where you’re heading. Having a clear vision means that you can allocate importance based on how it contributes to your vision.
Leadership vision gives teams inspiration
Without a clear vision, you can still have functional teams that meet targets and do a good job. However, without a common vision uniting your team and providing context for those targets then teams may lose motivation and fall short of reaching their full potential. When your teams can see what their hard work is moving them and the organisation towards, it gives them additional motivation and a sense of achievement. A clear vision gives your teams the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Of course, for a vision to work, it has to be communicated clearly and become an integral part of day to day work. Merely having the vision won’t do anything if you’re not positively talking about it. You need to get buy-in from your team for your vision, and you also need to be able to maintain the momentum; otherwise, your vision may never be realised.
If your team can understand what you are aiming for and why you are aiming for it, it will be easier for them to get behind you. The answer to ‘where are we going?’ should be exciting enough for your team to want to get there with you. Your vision needs to be lived every day – starting with you. When you demonstrate that you are fully behind the vision, your team will naturally follow.
Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world - Joel Barker Click To Tweet
Executive coaching can help you develop your leadership vision
Lack of a clear vision can leave you feeling frustrated and unfocused at work. When you know what you’re aiming for, you’ll naturally feel more positive about your leadership role. With a clear vision for yourself and your organisation, you and your teams will be able to make a positive contribution to the organisation.
A good place to start is reflecting on the key areas of focus in your work / life and considering the amount you feel fulfilled in those areas. If you’re wanting to start this process now, download this complimentary activity.
If you’re ready to take the next step and explore further, book in a ‘visioning coaching call’ with me where we’ll:
- Look at your activity worksheet and see where you currently feel unfulfilled / fulfilled
- Start to explore how your key areas of focus are linked and what sits behind you feeling unfulfilled / fulfilled
- Explore what you ultimately want: where you’d like to be, what you’d like to achieve, what kind of leader you want to be, and how you’d like to feel in the next 1, 2, 3 years
At the end of the 60 minutes call you’ll have raised your self-awareness of your current fulfilment levels, and more importantly took ownership of what you ultimately want with the creation of your personal leadership vision.
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