vision - the difference between leadership and management

What sets leaders apart from mere managers? The ability to craft and clearly articulate a vision. Vision allows leaders to present a hopeful and positive image for tomorrow. To be effective, this vision should persuade and attract every member of the team, organization, or family. It should also motivate everyone to cut through the noise and clutter of today for the timid sounds of a better, more positive future. This is never more important than when your team is going through a period of upheaval or stress.

So how can you provide a powerful visionary message of hope and purpose? Here are some tips to help you construct a vision that resonates and rallies the troops to work together:

Discovery: It is only possible to construct a meaningful, inspiring vision if you take the time to discover the deeply held values and desires of your supporters.

Clarity: Clearly communicating your vision helps create a positive, mental image for your team and enables them to get past their personal limitations and defensiveness to work as a team to achieve something greater than themselves.

Inspiration: Your positive vision should inspire others to accept a measure of self-sacrifice in order to be a part of the team and a better future. Peter Block, management consultant, offers a great illustration of this point– “Our deepest expression of what we want. It is the preferred future, a desirable state, an ideal state, an expression of optimism. It expresses the spiritual and idealistic side of human nature. It is a dream created in our waking hours of how we would like our lives to be.”

Collective: A vision should be created with input from many in an organization, team or family—not just the CEO or a small, exclusive group of individuals. When a vision is developed to reflect the views of many, it will resonate better with a larger group of people and provide a higher level of motivation to achieve that vision.

Once you have developed your vision, make it relatable to others. You don’t have to rely solely on strong speaking skills and charisma to get the job done. Sincerity, warmth, and personal optimism go a long way in communicating a vision. You can also use written communication, symbols, and imagery to help others relate to the vision.

Take the time to talk about how the vision can be realized, and back it up with a strong personal example of confidence and optimism. As you see others begin to accept and work towards the vision, reinforce their actions and attitudes to build their motivation and self-confidence. Empower others with the necessary resources and authority to effectively do their jobs. Take time out to celebrate milestones and successes your team encounters towards achieving the vision to stir up enthusiasm.

Lead by personal example, exhibiting the attitude and characteristics that you would like to see from others. Nothing hampers a vision more than a hypocrite who expects everyone else to follow certain standards and values, while not bothering to follow them him or herself.

Think about your own personal vision outside of the workplace. Write down a personal mission statement that you can refer to often to keep you on track in your personal life.  An optimistic view will inspire you to work towards a better tomorrow and provide an enhanced sense of purpose and meaning. As Martin Tupper once said, “It is sure to be dark, if you shut your eyes!”

Do you need help constructing and working towards achieving personal goals? We can help. Leadership Excellence provides leadership training, personal coaching, and personal leadership webinars to help you reach your personal goals. Contact us today to find out more.

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