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Embracing the Power of Vision: Exploring Visionary Leadership

visionary leadership

Being a visionary leader can take on many forms when it comes to setting up for business success, but the bottom line is, there’s no better way to motivate and inspire than being a leader with a future-proofed plan. Having something to work towards, aspire to achieve and commit wholeheartedly to is how people turn ideas into reality and make things happen. In this article, we explore the basics, as well as the intricacies, of visionary leadership, the different types of visionary leadership and a list of practical steps to becoming a leader with a vision that you can start putting into action with your company or organization.

Definition of Visionary Leadership

When we set ourselves goals as individuals, we develop a vision of where we want to be in the next x amount of weeks or months, or years, and in order to get there, we rely solely on ourselves to take those steps towards achieving that success. When we talk about good leadership, the cliche that “there’s no ‘I’ in team” couldn’t be more accurate, albeit a little overdone. It’s really about encouraging and empowering a team to come along for the journey and to all want to do their bit to accomplish a common goal for the good of everyone involved. That’s the difference between a boss vs. leader – a leader listens.

Advantages of Visionary Leadership

No matter what type of leadership position you’re in, rather than drawing a hard line, it’s about fostering collective creativity in order to get your business or organization to where it needs to be. Great leaders are different, they empower. When people feel like they’re being included in the process and that their input and hard work are valued, it helps to grow their passion and commitment to what they’re a part of.

Disadvantages of Visionary Leadership

The only risk that can potentially come with visionary leadership is if a leader is too focused on their perception of what the future should look like, rather than allowing their team to be innovative and come along for the ride. True leaders, the best leaders, bring everyone along on the journey.

Characteristics of Visionary Leaders

There are a few things that make visionary leaders capable of being successful leaders. Leadership skills, from having respect for others to showcasing their full dedication, being able to build trust with others, and communicating clearly – all of these qualities are part of their makeup. Let’s explore this further.

Common Goal Setting

As we mentioned earlier, a good leader doesn’t have a chance of being effective if the leader isn’t able to be inclusive and pull on their team members for creativity and an unwavering commitment to the cause. Fostering collaboration in the decision-making process and establishing a clear objective is a must. Basically, everyone has to be on the same page. When people feel heard, that’s when the magic really starts to happen.

Thinking Outside the Box

When sticking with the status quo, leadership can tend to come off as incredibly stale. Regimented, stuck-in-the-mud kind of thinking can hinder creativity, which is why thinking outside the box is critical for a visionary leader. When you can see things from various perspectives, it not only produces better outcomes, but when issues arise you’re able to adapt a lot easier and problem-solve quickly. Plus, thinking strategically and long-term as well solidifies your leadership style as a force to be reckoned with. 

Openness to New Ideas and Strategies

One thing you definitely can’t be as a visionary leader is narrow-minded. Ideas and strategies simply can’t be created in a vacuum, they’re most effective when they’re born out of discussion, debate, challenge and compromise. Being flexible and nurturing an environment where people, other than just the leader, have the space to contribute can turn a plan for the future from something mundane into something truly groundbreaking. As a leader, allowing everyone to have a seat at the table and offering constructive criticism goes a long way to making a vision come to life.

Different Types of Visionary Leadership

While visionary leadership may look and feel a certain way, it really is an umbrella term for a whole host of different styles of leadership that are determined by your personality – as well as how those around you will react to that. The key differences in visionary leadership and initiatives are outlined below.

Transformational Leadership Style

Transformational leadership is a management style that promotes change in order to maximize the potential of an organization. Leaders will set goals and develop strategies to meet those objectives and enable growth and success. This approach also embraces the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of industries to create a sense of uniqueness and competitive edge.

Democratic Leader Style

In Democratic Leadership, decisions depend on the collective input of the entire group rather than just one individual. All opinions and perspectives are taken into account in order to achieve the best possible outcome. While this approach allows diverse views to be voiced, it can occasionally result in conflicting positions.

Laissez-Faire Leadership Style

In a Laissez-Faire leadership model, the leader and team are assigned equal power, rather than a leader micromanaging their staff. This differs from conventional models, allowing team members to take on greater autonomy while the leader focuses on business operations. By giving each individual sole control over their work, they become empowered with a sense of purpose.

Autocratic Leadership Style

This is when decisions are based purely upon the leader’s values and beliefs and do not factor in any input from outside sources. This kind of leadership style will be driven by the leader’s own proclamations and their position of authority, where what they say goes and there’s no room for debate. Some would argue it is not an effective style because it does not leave any space for creative freedom or teamwork.

How to Become a Visionary Leader

Now you know what makes a visionary leader, let’s plan how you can start making leaps and bounds on your journey to becoming one yourself and creating a healthy work environment. A boss controls while a leader leads.

Understand Your Core Values and Beliefs

One of the first steps to becoming a visionary leader is sitting down and clarifying with yourself before you do the same with others what your core values and beliefs actually are. Ask yourself questions like, what foundations are my decisions based on? What matters to me? Taking part in self-reflection, introspection and being willing to seek feedback from others is a great start. Having strong communication skills to share this with others is key.

Set Long-Term Goals and Visions

The next is to set those long-term goals, rather than short-term ones, and plan how you’re going to remain accountable and stick to them – identifying focus areas and setting timeframes and deadlines is a must if you want to accomplish something and do it well.

Identify Obstacles and Create Solutions

It’s almost entirely unavoidable that you will come up against obstacles along the way when trying to establish effective leadership. Knowing how to identify them is number one, and then coming up with ways to solve these problems when they arise as well as put things in place to prevent them from happening will be a real advantage.

Establish a Company Culture That Supports Your Vision

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have your team backing you when it comes to displaying visionary leadership. In order for others to want to jump on board, growing a company culture where everyone feels as though they have a role to play in achieving a common goal is vital. When people get together and share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions, beautiful things come out of that process – so don’t dim others’ lights. Supporting team members and giving them credit where it’s due can set off a domino effect like no other.


Aish Hinton

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