Vision is What Separates Great Leaders

vision

Vision is the foundation of leadership. Whilst leadership starts with being the right person – the character of the leader, great leadership is sustained by a shared and compelling vision. A compelling vision is one that describes who you are, why you exist and the future you want to create.

People don’t follow leaders with fancy titles and high positions. People don’t follow leaders who have authority. People don’t follow leaders of good character. Whilst all these things are helpful and contribute to influencing others, without a compelling vision people are not moved to follow a leader. If the quality of a leader’s vision is poor people will be reluctant to follow.

Vision is the defining characteristic of great leaders. Consider the critical role vision has played throughout history in the success of leaders like Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Jeff Bezos and many others. Each of these leaders shared a clear and compelling vision with their followers. Each of these leaders offered a vision of an aspirational future founded on purpose and a clear set of values.

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch, Former Chairman, General Electric

Given the importance of vision to success, you may be asking why so many businesses struggle in creating a shared vision? The primary reason is that leaders are failing to lead. Research has found that “only 3% of the typical business leader’s time is spent envisioning and enlisting”. Simply stated, businesses don’t have a vision problem, they have a leadership problem. Having a leadership position doesn’t make you a leader.

Vision is the lifeblood of an organisation. It’s what keep organisations moving forward. Without vision, leaders fail.

Leaders are responsible to lead the creation of a compelling vision. To develop a vision that co-ordinates and align the hearts and minds of your people. A vision that’s shared, inspiring and sets the organisations future direction.

  • How does your vision stack up? Is it compelling?
  • Are you spending enough time developing vision?
  • Are you spending enough time communicating and enlisting others?

You’ll never live a life that matters until you define what matters. Defining what matters is the purpose of vision.

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  • David Hinton

    This is indeed a great definition of leadership, giving yourself a title that includes “leadership” does not qualify you as a leader.

    I would suggest that the only way to survive the long term is all of the above AND trust. All the vision, passion, articulation and drive will not translate to the long term if your people cannot trust you. Being honest -most of the people in senior management positions are driven by pure self interest. Vision, a long term plan and TRULY caring for your people is a rarity.

  • http://buildyoursoulpurpose.com/how-to-handle-the-aftermath-of-a-fired-employee Janell Mellish

    How crucial it is for a leader to not only be passionate for their vision, but to follow through with it as well. Letting standards slip that ultimately affect the vision will be a slippery slope that ultimately hurts the mission. I would agree that a leader without any vision, really is not a leader at all. Great read!