How is Your Leadership Vision?
How is Your Leadership Vision?
“We are limited, not by our abilities, but by our vision.”
One of the things that sets great leaders apart from the rest is that they have a vision of what they and their followers can achieve. It is the power, depth, and breadth of their vision. Vision is often spoken about, but is sometimes a difficult concept to explain. It is more than a goal or a purpose. Goals state what you aim to achieve. Visions paint a broader picture describing your most cherished dreams, hopes and possibilities.
What is vision?
- Seeing the possibilities.
Having vision is the ability to see possibilities where others cannot is one of the hallmarks of great leadership. Where most of us might see just a consignment of goods, leaders may see an exciting product that can change someone’s life. Where most of us might see an office with space for desks and filing cabinets, leaders may see a place where teams can do groundbreaking work together. Where most of us might see a loose conglomeration of people with names and titles, leaders see potential organizational champions.
Writer Warren Bennis was fascinated by the ability of leaders to see what the rest of us cannot, so he carried out a study of 90 top leaders in the United States. What Bennis discovered was that, despite the differences in their backgrounds, disciplines, and circumstances, all of these people still had one thing in common- a clear and compelling vision of what they wanted to realize. To them, the vision wasn’t at some point in the far off or distant future. It was right there in front of their eyes.
Great leaders do not put limits on their vision. They go after the biggest dream they can imagine, even if it can only realized at some time in the future when they are no longer around. While most people see no more than two or three months ahead, outstanding leaders can see several years down the road. The Japanese industrialist Konosuke Matsushita even has a 250-year plan for his business.
- Pulling others in.
Leaders do much more than have a vision of what is possible; they articulate it and draw other people into it. They do this through the use of metaphors, images, and by triggering the innate desire that everyone has to be part of something bigger than themselves.
Without action, visions are merely dreams, wishes and hopes. They are creations of your imagination, and nothing more. But with action and the ability to visualize the steps needed to get from where you are right now, to where we could be, dreams can become reality. Everyone dreams, but few people remember their dreams, and fewer still act on them. But great leaders are different. They make a difference to the daily lives of the people they lead, and our collective lives. They do this by capturing their dreams (and sometimes the dreams of others), nurturing them with care, and in the fullness of time helping people bring them into the glorious light of day. What is the dream that you want to pursue?
Photo Credit: paul bica