6 Ways To Become A Visionary Leader
Six Ways To Become A Visionary Leader
By Mark Wager
The Leaders that people most admire are the ones who are able to create a vision that inspires, motivates and brings everyone together. These visionary Leaders are the ones who revolutionise teams and make a true difference to people’s lives but it’s not easy being a visionary Leader. Every Leader has a vision of what they want the team to achieve but they soon realise that there’s a big difference between a Leader who has a vision and a visionary Leader. So in this week’s article I want to share the six main ways that will help you turn ideas into reality and become a visionary Leader.
Tip 1: It’s not your vision.
“Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power” - Seth Berkeley
A Leader with a vision aims to get their team to buy into the Leader’s own vision yet the visionary leader instead focuses on making it the team’s vision. They hand over ownership of the vision to the team. Leader’s need to understand that power is not meant to be kept, power is meant to be shared. If you want your team to embrace your vision of the future then the only way to do this is for your team to believe in the vision. So, stop using the word “I” and “mine”and instead use “we” and “ours.” The most successful leaders understand that it’s never about them it’s always about others.
Tip 2: Create a story
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality” - Warren Bennis
Visionary Leaders are also storytellers. They have the ability to share their vision in a way that allows people to easily embrace the core principles and see the role that they play within that story but there will be more about that in the next tip. Right now it’s about creating a compelling story. Throughout history the sharing of stories has been the most effective method of sharing information, illustrating the differences between right and wrong. Ensure that you make your story relatable by highlighting how the vision will change peoples lives including those within the team.
Tip 3: Make your audience the hero of the story.
“Have a vision. It is the ability to see the invisible. If you can see the invisible, you can achieve the impossible” - Shiv Khera
A story may be compelling but if you can create a story that makes the audience the hero of the story then you bridge the gap between entertaining and inspiring. A useful resource is Joseph Gladwell's work on the hero’s journey. This is an exploration on the structure of the most successful stories. It’s a long read and I’ve covered it in other articles but briefly start off talking about where the audience is now, then introduce a call to action, a reason to change, an upcoming challenge to overcome followed by what will happen if the audience tries to meet that challenge without the necessary change. Then as a leader, it’s your role to explain that change or idea that will help the audience to overcome the upcoming challenge and win the day. Remember it’s the audience that needs to be the hero of the story and not the leader.
Tip 4: Make it challenging
“Don’t limit your challenges; each day we must strive for constant and never ending improvement” - Tony Robbins
If diamonds grew on trees and were easily available would people still value diamonds so highly? It’s unlikely because the more something is difficult to obtain the more we value it. So when you explain your vision, remember if the journey seems easy then it won’t seem a worthwhile journey. Make sure people know how difficult the journey will be. Don’t be afraid of this. I know that some leaders are hesitant about this but a complete vision is one that is just outside of the teams reach and can only be achieved if everyone works together and everyone works harder and smarter than they have ever done previously.
Tip 5: Provide hope.
“A Leader is a dealer in hope” - Napoleon
When teams bring me in to consult, I always explain that in order to be successful, a team needs to have high stakes and high belief. There needs to be a difficult and almost insurmountable challenge facing them but there must be a complete and utter belief that the challenge can be overcome and it’s the Leader’s role to provide that hope. When communicating the vision, ensure that while you are always honest about the challenges you also keep absolute confidence that those challenges can be overcome. Visionary Leaders talk in absolutes they avoid using “ifs”, “buts” or “maybes.” They talk like future success is a certainty.
Tip 6: Establish credibility
“Credibility is a Leader’s currency. With it he or she is solvent, without it he or she is bankrupt” - John C Maxwell
It’s difficult for people to seperate the message from the messenger. You may have the best vision in the world but people won’t buy into that vision unless they buy into you. Don’t assume that just because you are a leader people will automatically believe you. Silence doesn’t always mean agreement. You have to earn credibility so when you communicate you need to explain not only what but just how the team is going to reach their goals and why you are the best person to lead them to the vision.
Everyone knows how amazing the view is from the summit of a mountain but many people never see the view because they don’t have a guide that can help them on the journey. Look after them keep them safe and show them how to get to the top. As a leader your responsibility is not just about having a vision your role is to be a guide so that others can make that vision a reality.
It’s difficult to become a Leader, it takes a lot of work but if you are going to put all that work in then you might as well push yourself a bit further and become a leader that others admire, one that inspires and motivates, a visionary Leader.
Posted: Wednesday 9 March 2022