Career Development

Your Guide to Visionary Leadership

May 26, 2021

A forward-thinking leader can be key to the success of a growing company. Visionary leaders are individuals who guide a business toward positive change and increased momentum through thoughtful, long-term decision-making. This article explores the importance of visionary leadership and provides advice on how to develop your skills as a visionary leader.

What is visionary leadership?

Visionary leadership inspires team innovation by developing a vision of a shared common goal. A successful visionary leader also develops the team’s foundational values, such as persistence and discipline. As opposed to more regimented forms of leadership, this style can increase creativity and morale as well as encourage members to grow their individual skills.

Visionary leaders can exist on all levels of management, from CEOs of large companies to team leaders at a local business. If you have a clear vision and a need for creative problem-solving, it may be wise to consider employing visionary leadership tactics.

Read More: 10 Common Leadership Styles

The benefits of visionary leadership

Visionary leadership can offer a great deal to companies, teams and users of this leadership style.

Visionary leadership can support industry leadership and recognition

Visionary leaders aim for rapid, quality innovation, and their creativity can often improve outdated practices or technology. As a result, other companies might follow the examples of a visionary leader’s process. 

Visionary leadership can unite a company

A powerful common goal can align departments and individuals of many perspectives. This sense of unity can help build strong relationships among team members and the leader. Further, these strong relationships can strengthen teamwork and help them reach their goals with less conflict.

Visionary leadership helps companies grow

One of the primary aims of visionary leadership is to develop inspiring goals. Companies that experience slow progress toward growth can often benefit from the innovation, creativity and long-term thinking associated with a visionary leader. 

Visionary leadership characteristics

Visionary leaders share six common characteristics that can often propel them and their business toward success. These qualities include:

Respect

Visionary leaders should respect their team and their ideas. Respect helps teams feel comfortable creating and using new processes. Teams that receive respect are more likely to respect their leaders.

Trust

Visionaries who trust their team to follow their vision, and teams who trust their leader to support their ideas, can avoid time-consuming micromanagement and enjoy improved rapport.

Creativity

Not only do visionaries promote creativity, but they also possess it. They find creative ways to achieve and imagine goals rather than relying on common methods.

Flexibility

Visionaries change and adapt to new circumstances as they work toward their goals. Flexibility allows visionary leaders to incorporate new ideas into their processes and change course when challenges arise.

Communication

Communication is essential to visionary leadership, as these leaders must  effectively communicate their goals to create alignment. If there is progress or change, visionaries must make sure they updated the involved stakeholders so the team can adjust as needed. 

Courage

Visionary leaders are willing to take calculated risks to achieve goals. Thoughtful research and consideration enable them to confidently take these necessary risks. 

Positivity

Visionary leaders inspire their team by displaying optimism and resilience in the face of obstacles. They recognize that setbacks are both normal and an opportunity to unite the business. 

Read More: 15 Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader

How to become a visionary leader

Here are the steps you can take to become a visionary leader:

1. Define your vision

You should have a clear idea of your vision and how it relates to the future of the company. Research trends within your company and industry to identify how your company can progress. Identify a new goal and the steps you and your team need to take to get there.

2. Create a sense of purpose

Communicate your vision and process to your team. Help team members understand their role in achieving the goal and be sure to explain how their contribution will advance the initiative when delegating tasks. 

3. Motivate your team

Your team must believe in your vision as much as you do. Make sure they understand the benefits of the goal, as this can increase the chances to achieve it. You can also motivate your team by setting attainable goals, rewarding hard work and recognizing individual efforts. 

4. Adjust your goals as needed

As you work toward your goal, you may discover new information that can help you improve the process. You may also encounter obstacles that require a new strategy to overcome them. Flexibility is key to achieving your vision.

Visionary leadership examples

Here are two examples of visionary leadership:

Example 1: Motivating to improve results

Mary works for an advertising firm and is taking on her first leadership role. Her manager instructs her to lead a campaign for a small law firm. She has the vision to increase their internet presence since most of their advertisements are on billboards and phone books.

To make this vision a reality, Mary creates a team that specializes in internet copy and search engine optimization. She communicates her vision to the team and gives them tasks related to specific goals. One team member focuses on the firm’s current website, another team designs the advertisements and so on.

Mary decides to hold daily meetings where she works with the team to stay motivated. During one of these meetings, the team finds a new way to target keywords to increase internet traffic. With this information, they build an internet campaign that increases the law firm’s business by 16% in the first three months.

Mary displays characteristics of visionary leadership by creating an innovative vision for the law firm which was using outdated advertisement methods. By deciding the firm could benefit from a new advertising campaign, she allows her team to explore ways to increase internet traffic.

Example 2: Motivating to inspire passion

Susan and Chad have the vision to create a phone application that helps college students find affordable textbooks online and at local stores. They explain to their team what the application should do, including creating filters for book categories and editions.

As a result of Susan and Chad strongly believing in their application and effectively communicating the benefits, the team feels motivated to find the best way to create it. They brainstorm several processes that can integrate online search results and sales trends from local stores to create a thorough list. The final application helps thousands of students save money on textbooks across the country.

Susan and Chad use visionary leadership to create a reality from their vision. They want to create an application that does not exist, but they believe it can benefit a targeted group. To motivate their team, they instill a sense of purpose and allow them to brainstorm ideas.

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