To be That Leader you need vision to be successful. What does the idea of having a vision mean in terms of leadership to you?
When I looked up the idea of leadership and vision, I was not sure exactly what having vision meant. Here’s what I learned. Vision has many varieties of definitions, but they all include a mental image or picture, an orientation toward the future and some of the qualities of direction or goal. Being a person whose primary sense is feeling I know now I was stymied by an aspect of leadership that is visual.
Vision not only describes the direction the leader wants to go, but also the means to its accomplishment. However, it is more than just an image of sometime in the future it is also a force that gives meaning to the team. Vision inspires team members to be committed, to work and to strive for its attainment. Vision is also described as a hunger to see improvement.
Do not confuse vision with prophecy, a mission or a restraint on people’s actions. Vision should not blind the team to the possibilities of innovations. Here is another visual concept.
So what are the attributes, skills and knowledge that a leader needs to have vision?
- A leader views problems as opportunities. He’s a glass half-full kind of guy.
- She sets priorities although not in stone.
- He is customer or client focused. He listens in the now rather than working on his reply.
- She is courageous, not afraid to think outside the box and to jump outside the box, as well.
- He is a critical and creative thinker. In this case we are talking about the kind of critical thinking that analyzes realistically.
- She can tolerate ambiguity. People do not do what we script them to do, they don’t think how we expect them to think and we need to throw those ideas out. If you want a genuine team member, you must be willing to allow them to be who they are, whoever that is.
- He must have a positive attitude towards change. Change is a necessary part of reaching the goal. Without change the team stays right where it is at the starting point.
- She must be committed to innovations. If a team member comes up with a good idea, only a leader with too much ego would insist on doing things the old way.
- That Leader will be willing to debate, clarify and enunciate the values and beliefs of the group. There is no place for “because I said so” as the group works to clarify the vision and how to reach it.
- She must be able to fuel, inspire and guard the shared vision. Guarding the shared vision means at times disagreeing with what someone thinks the vision is or should be. That is where the debate and clarify come in. To be inspiring is to strive to be like Martin Luther King, Jr. and not only share the vision, but get others excited about it.
- He should be able to communicate the strategic plan at all levels. So he must have a broad general idea of the vision as well as knowledge of the details. I don’t think that means he has to micromanage, but rather that he knows what each member is working on.
- She should learn to recognize the problems inherent in the planning process.
- He should ask big picture questions and “what if”.
- She needs to support the team members during the change process.
- He will encourage dreaming and thinking the unthinkable in order to get the team jumping out of the box.
- She will engage in goal setting with those on an up-line as well as her team.
- He will develop and implement action plans.
- She needs to practice and plan conscious abandonment. Remember that things have to change for the team to reach the goal. What worked at one point could become a detriment later on and must be abandoned.
- He must be able to transfer the strategic planning process into planning and from there into action.
- She must be able to align the budget, planning, policies with those of the company.
- That leader must know the roles of all the team and those on up-lines and what the chain of command (so to speak) is.
- She has to know the strategic planning process, short and long term planning tools.
- He must know the company’s vision, beliefs and mission.
- She must understand the process of change and paradigm shifts.
- He must know the strategies to involve and communicate with the company community.
- She has to understand the relationship of the budget to the company finances.
While this has been a long blog, the reason is that being That Leader takes many attributes, skills and knowledge whether we are talking about vision, accountability or structure. Don’t worry if you look at this and want to crawl back into being a team member. You don’t have to get there all at once. You learn these step by step.
Let’s ask the questions again. What trait of those above were you proud to say describes you?
Was there any trait you would not consider desirable?
What trait are you working on to make more descriptive of you?
This information is from Washington State School Directors' Association and found on http://www.nsba.org/sbot/toolkit/
Jaco Grobbelaar, owner of BroadVision Marketing, helps business owners and business professionals put marketing strategies in place that consistently secure new clients. He can be reached at email@example.com or 707.799.1238. You can “Like” him at www.facebook.com/broadvisionmarketing or connect with him on www.linkedin.com/in/JacoGrobbelaar.
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