Beware of the visionless leader, because he is not a leader at all! If someone in a position of leadership pronounces that they are a populist leader, and thus will follow and be led by the will of his constituents, chances are that individual is either ill – prepared or unfit to truly lead. Helen Keller put it this way, “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.” This is especially true when it comes to leadership, because true leaders must be counted upon to lead others to better circumstances and better ways to accomplish what is needed. This requires a combination of an in – depth understanding, a keen desire to provide value to others, and the self – confidence and wisdom to take charge and show what is needed and what must be done.
1. In my over three decades of working with well over a thousand individuals in leadership positions, I have found that while I can train someone in many of the necessities and skills required for effective leadership, it is their vision and how it drives them that differentiates the true leader from simply someone with certain skills and abilities. Vision, when it comes to leadership, means understanding not only what is, and what has been, but identifying what should and must be, and how to get to that position. This is perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of leadership training, because even great leaders enjoy some degree of gratification, and since others lacking vision may not immediately recognize true needs like someone with vision does, it can often be both frustrating and lonely.
2. It is generally a leader’s vision that drives him to personally commit above and beyond what others may be willing to do. It also drives him to care more, do more, sacrifice more, and understand more than others. Our greatest leaders have realized that they must use their vision to develop essential goals that others can both buy into, care about and adopt as their own. When a leader uses his vital vision to motivate followers so that they adopt his vision as theirs, these individuals often become the most committed and hardest working. Great leaders also understand that they must not only encourage followers, but need to develop future leaders, and they sell their vision as a primary reason for others to wish to ascend to leadership.
Demand that your leader has a vision. Demand that he explain it fully, why it is essential, what the goals, course of action, and plans are, and how it will make the organization more relevant and sustainable into the future.