The word “leader” implies direction. You are leading your team somewhere, but where? Your organization wants you to have a vision and to know where you want to go.
You can create the vision yourself and then communicate it or, even better, you can enlist others in the dream to create a shared sense of destiny. You still come up with the direction, but they help you paint the picture. Or expand the possibilities even further and involve others in setting the direction too.
An article in the Harvard Business Review (January 2009) by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner reviewed an ongoing study involving tens of thousands of workers which discovered that 72% of respondents wanted a leader to be forward-looking. Their research shows that envisioning exciting possibilities and enlisting others in a shared view of the future is the attribute that most distinguishes leaders from non-leaders.
Kouzes and Posner go on to point out that, “Constituents want visions of the future that reflect their own aspirations. They want to hear how their dreams will come true and their hopes will be fulfilled.” They encourage leaders to collaborate with their workers when developing a vision for their organization. It is important for executive leaders to engage others in their vision by being present in today and seeking to understand the desires and dreams of their team.”
Your organization’s vision is the solution it provides. A vision differs from a mission or goals because a vision can be imagined. Just as you can connect your own personal hopes and dreams to the shared vision, you can help others do the same.
By creating a shared vision, you define the problem and solution more clearly for the group. You have the opportunity to paint a clear picture of the vision, why your organization is the one to achieve it, and why you want to start now. Once your organization sees that their own interests and aspirations align with the vision, they will wholeheartedly commit to making it happen.
EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP ACTION PLAN:
What could your organization accomplish that you would really want to commit to?
What would make everyone in the organization proud if they accomplished it?
What would the vision look and feel like?
“Passionate hearts committed to a shared vision can accomplish the impossible.”
~ Byrd Baggett