Thank you for listening to the Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! When faced with difficult times, people rely on visionary leaders who see things as they can be, not just as they currently are. Every leader knows that to succeed, they must create and communicate an inspiring vision. If leaders spend too much time talking about the problems and the challenges they are facing, they run the risk of having serious morale issues. If they go too far the other way and ignore the challenges, they are seen as naïve and disillusioned. In today’s episode, we will talk about the purpose of vision and how you can incorporate the top three traits of visionary leaders into your leadership style.
Be the type of visionary leader that brings the light of change for the future.
A vision is your view of the future, your hopes and dreams, and the purpose that guides you as you work every day. If your organization has an inconsistent company culture, is seeing a decline in profit, and is experiencing a high level of turnover, you may need to place a greater emphasis on casting vision to your team. Having a clear vision will energize you and your team. It will help people better understand what the future holds and create a sense of hope and optimism.
1. See Things Early
Visionary leaders see the obvious opportunities, obstacles, and other indicators of change, but they also see subtle trends and events that often go unnoticed.
Visionary leaders know how to pull out the most important information and organize it in a way that makes sense to their team members.
Most leaders miss out on being visionary because they are overwhelmed with the day-to-day tasks involved in running their business or department. They spend more time focusing on their daily tasks than they do thinking about the big picture and creating a plan and a vision for where their team or company is going.
Q: Have you ever felt blindsided by an event? Looking back, were there any clues that went unnoticed? What do you think that you can do to try to be more attentive in those situations and proactively come up with solutions?
2. Take Risks
Visionary leaders use the information they gather to take calculated risks.
Visionaries see risk as a part of progress and know that even doing nothing is a risk.
If you want to stay relevant in your industry, you cannot become complacent. Taking risks will help your organization to explore new opportunities and move forward.
Q: How do you feel when you hear the word “risk”? Would you describe yourself as a natural risk-taker? Why or why not? Describe a time when you saw someone take a risk, either personally or professionally and it paid off. What do you think made their risk a good idea?
3. Communicate The Vision
Organizations need a vision, but they also need leaders who communicate that vision.
Visionary leaders begin with the end in mind.
People look to their leaders to provide an image of the future. Leaders who can clearly articulate their vision inspire others to join them on the journey.
When you are excited about where you are going, others are more likely to join you.
Visionary leaders share their vision while still being receptive to other people’s suggestions. This builds a common purpose and motivates people by helping them see the bigger picture.
Leaders who can articulate a compelling vision for the future that connects with people will inspire them to join in working toward that vision.
Q: Describe a time when you were inspired by a leader. What did they say or do that was so inspiring? How did it change your outlook? Was all of their communication verbal? If not, what nonverbal cues helped you feel more confident and excited by the plan?
“A vision without a task is but a dream. A task without vision is drudgery. A vision and a task are the hope of the world.” - Unknown
If you want to be a visionary leader, you have to have a clear picture of the future. Can you describe your vision for your team’s future in a few sentences? If not, take some time and think about what the future will look like. What will you be doing? What will you NOT be doing? What will the results be? What skills will people on your team have? How will you measure your success? Try to put your vision into a few sentences and memorize them so that you are prepared to speak on your vision at a moment’s notice.
Take a look at the symptoms that you need to incorporate more visionary leadership into your leadership style. Do any of them stand out to you? Take some time to write down three struggles your business or department is facing right now. Then, write down some of the contributing factors for each issue. Ask yourself if there is anything going on behind the scenes that could be affecting any of those areas. Then, work with your team to come up with a strategy to address these areas. Use your vision statement from the previous exercise to help guide the discussion.
Think about your own communication skills. There are verbal and non-verbal methods of communication. When you improve your communication skills, you will become a more inspiring leader! Ask a trusted friend or colleague to point out areas of your verbal and non-verbal communication where you can improve. If possible, seek out additional opportunities to speak in front of a group of people! The more you do, the more confident you will become and the more naturally you will incorporate positive verbal and non-verbal cues.