Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Visionary Leadership

Visionary Leadership is Vital!

Visionary Leadership is a must! The old proverb says that without vision the people perish; or as some say, without vision the people wander aimlessly.

I spent some time with our leadership team recently speaking about the vision of our church for next year, and the years to come. Why? Well, without a clear vision, it is so easy to wander aimlessly. It is so easy to merely work and work, and become busy 'doing' lots of things, and the question is whether you are achieving what you should be achieving. A vision keeps you on track. A mission statement highlights what your main purpose is, but a vision gives you an idea of the preferable future for your organisation.

A visionary leader motivates the troops. Without a dynamic vision, people will wander aimlessly not really understanding their purpose within the organisation. A vision helps people be on the same page, and to be striving for the same goals. A good vision will ignite passion in you to see change and transformation. A good vision will see people signing up to be a part of it. See Seth Godin's Blog.
  • What are you doing to inspire vision in the organisation that you are a part of?
  • Do you find there is a greater clarity and direction when you have a clear and purposeful vision?

Obstacles to Visionary Leadership

Commissioner Joe Noland of The Salvation Army, said:

"Do not let your vision be hindered by your resources
Do not let your vision be hindered by your experience
Do not let your vision be hindered by your self-esteem"

When we attempt to fulfil the vision laid on our heart, we inevitable hit roadblocks at times. The question is not whether we will have obstacles in our quest to fulfil vision, but how we will overcome them. Some of the obstacles we might have to reaching our dreams/visions are:
  • Lack of personnel - lack of trained staff, committed volunteers, etc.
  • Lack of resources - finances, buildings, tools/equipment, personnel, etc.
  • Lack of insight - the lack of wisdom and understanding of how to strategically plan to fulfil the vision - i.e. the vision is out of your current capacity!
  • Lack of confidence - young leaders especially question themselves at times, to their current capacity to actually work towards the vision they have.
  • Lack of support/buy-in to the vision - If the vision doesn't touch the heart of the people, and doesn't inspire them, then you will have a tough time reaching the vision on your heart.
We can overcome most obstacles. We need time to sit in our lazy chair and consider the options. We need to plan and learn and discover. I am reminded of Thomas Edison who didn't discover the Light Bulb on his first go; not even on his 20th attempt. It took him hundreds of adaptations to finally fulfil his dream of inventing the light bulb! So, do not give up on the quest for visionary leadership, especially if the vision is a God-honouring, kind of vision.
  • What are the obstacles you currently face to fulfilling the vision on your heart?

Visionary Leadership that Stagnates

'Decline is never the only answer' is an article from Leadership It mentions that nothing defeats the human spirit like stagnation. You know, that place you find yourself, where nothing is moving, nothing is changing, nothing seems to be working. So you stop; you stagnate. (Find the article here).

What needs to change first, is growth of the spirit inside the leader doing the work. That's so true. If the leader has lost the vision, don't expect others to keep the vision very long. When the leader grows in their ability to persevere and be strong, and be passionate, then they will battle against stagnation and decline.

Leaders who have fallen into a pit of despair need to pick themselves up and keep moving. 

Don't fall into the trap of denial - trying to justify to everyone that nothing is really wrong, that nothing really needs to change. Try not to fall into a place where you lack motivation. See the dream, and live it out. Let the vision and working towards its fulfilment be an absolute roller coaster, exciting journey! Don't be dismayed when few people are signing up. 

Consider whether there is something in your leadership style or behaviour that needs to change. Consider whether there is a different approach to the fulfilment of the vision. Maybe you need to head south-west, instead of south-east, so to speak. Consider whether you have let circumstances dictate your feeling about your vision - maybe its time to reengergize people with the value of what the vision/dream will mean, what it will affect, how things will be different when it is fulfilled. Maybe its time to turn the heat up on communicating the vision.

Become a visionary leader! 

Don't let vision stagnate. Don't let mediocrity set in.
  • Is your vision at the forefront of your communication and thinking?

--> ALSO - What is a Visionary and when should I eat that Pie in the Sky?

Continue the discussion on Visionary Leadership at Disciples in Training on Facebook.

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