Why visionary leadership helps in an agile business world
Updated: Jan 30
We have all seen these TED talks or been to a conference where we sat there listening to a person who really had something to say. You could see their overwhelming passion for the topic and no matter if you agree with their vision, you understood and respected the direction that they have taken. This is the feeling that visionary leaders raise in their employees. We are going to dig into what the secrets of visionary leadership are and what characteristics are connected with it.
Leaders are the forces that guide and structure employees to achieve success and profit for the company, personal growth for the employees, and a stronger commitment to the strategy. They are motivating workers and can easily create a good relationship with stakeholders. Moreover, leaders show confidence in decision making and preserving the vision of the organization. In a fast-paced business environment, however, leaders need to be agile and to react quickly to changes and uncertainties. A type of leadership that combines all these traits is the visionary.
The term "visionary leadership" was first described in 2002 by Daniel Goleman and it is one of six different styles of leadership. Visionary managers bring people together and inspire them with their vision and ideals and coach them. The former Prime Minister of Denmark, Anker Jørgensen, is a good example of visionary leaders, even if you don't agree with his point of view. He went from working in a warehouse to creating a wide range of progressive social reforms, which have formed the country.
What is visionary leadership
Visionary leadership is a leading style that is (especially) useful when companies need to access a new market with a new product that is different from the product of competitors’. It is most effective when an organization needs a new and clear direction or wants to achieve growth and change. Leaders with a visionary mindset are tasked with moving the company into a direction while promoting unity and tenacity to push through times of uncertainty.
Visionary leaders gain a sense of the unknown and the long-term development for a company and are driven by what the company can become. They are able to find hidden trends or progressive developments and can achieve value for the organization. Visionary leaders can better position the company based on its development and share the strategy and vision of the firm with others. Moreover, they gain deep insights into how complex markets operate and how to gain profit from that.
Visionary leaders are long-term oriented to create and execute their and the company’s vision. They can easily adapt to changes and uncertainties, but the vision is the foundation for their strategy nonetheless. They remain connected to this and the hearts of the members by reminding them of why they do it.
Furthermore, visionary managers can recognize talent and recruit individuals with skills that complement the team. They motivate teams and this way, they create an environment where employees can reach their peak performance. Moreover, visionary leaders build a vivid image of the target to have a goal with the freedom to let employees perform better.
The difficulty with visionary leadership
While visionary leaders can increase the success rate of a strategy and enhance the ownership and commitment of employees there are some challenges to it. If middle managers do not align with the strategy, it can cause confusion and lead to the opposite effect. This can end in less commitment to the strategy and the vision of the company.
Moreover, effective communication is one of the mandatory elements for visionary leaders. To align middle managers they need clear instructions and a clear vision of the leaders' strategy. Otherwise, leaders lose their employees’ trust and create even more uncertainties. In addition, leaders need to be authentic and speak to employees on a more personal level to be able to inspire them and share the vision.
Visionary leadership is a style that has many benefits for companies that want to enter a new market or segment. Sharing a vision with the employees and finding the right talents for a team can drastically increase the team’s motivation and commitment. This again leads to improved strategy execution. With clear and effective communication it is a leadership style that can reach many employees. The role of a visionary leader is to be that person who inspires change, makes bold decisions to create solutions for employees, customers and ultimately the world.
To be continued….
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