What It Really Means To Be A Visionary Leader, Part 2
I was recently in a meeting when a co-worker began to share his idea of what we needed for our distribution capabilities. Unfortunately, what he envisioned was not practical. The resources it would take are not available, nor do most of our customers have the technology on their end to receive the orders. While he had a futuristic goal, he lacked the practicality to get there.
This balance of vision and action is the key formula to becoming a visionary leader, according to leadership expert and author Corinne McLaughlin. Yesterday, Promotional Consultant Today shared McLaughlin's definition of a visionary leader. Today we'll share key qualities of a visionary leader and an action plan for applying your vision.
Qualities Of Visionary Leaders. Successful practical visionaries lead from the inside out, while employing skill in action. They are pioneers who bring a new, compelling picture of the future to the present to meet people's needs. They think outside the box and embrace challenges and change. They focus on opportunities and solutions, not problems.
Visionary leaders who can put an action plan in place also know how to anticipate change; they're proactive rather than reactive. They think systemically—seeing processes and interconnections. They link people's current needs to future needs. They radiate energy and vitality, and express a balance of three key qualities:
Will: purpose, courage, focus, vitality and perseverance
Heart: compassion, harmony, mutually respectful relationships and empowerment of others
Mind: creative intelligence, whole systems thinking, intuition, thoughtful planning and innovative problem solving
Applying Your Vision. Do these characteristics sound like you? Whether your vision is a part-time avocation or a full-time endeavor depends on three things: your karmic obligations (the responsibilities you may have to your family or others); your previous experience and skills that may need developing; and the evolution of humanity in relation to the aspect of the plan that you seek to serve.
In other words, are people ready to receive what you have to offer? Can you make a living in this profession, or is it so new that there is not an easy way to produce income from it yet? Are the colleagues whom you need to work with ready and available? The answers to these questions can affect the timing of expressing your higher purpose and your leadership in the world.
Your purpose may be about learning to embody a new quality while your vision may be mainly about doing something in the world, such inventing a new technology or creating a new organization.
Your vision is your unique contribution to the world that both serves a true need and expresses your natural talents. It gives you a profound sense of who you are, why you are here, where you come from, and where you are going. It often involves working on something bigger and more enduring than yourself.
But you need to release the idea that everything about your purpose and vision must be unique to you. Some parts of your vision are shared by others. You also need to give up the idea that your unique purpose must consist of some achievement that all the world will see. In reality, no one may ever know about your purpose or achievement, so detach yourself from recognition and fame and take comfort in knowing you are doing the right thing.
Lastly, acknowledge and appreciate the help you receive from other people. Thank friends and colleagues who have helped you or laid the groundwork for you to take the next steps.
Thousands of new visionary leaders are emerging in all fields of human endeavor. Utilize these characteristics to lead with both vision and the practicality to make your vision a reality.
Source: Corinne McLaughlin is executive director of The Center for Visionary Leadership and co-author of Spiritual Politics and Builders of the Dawn. She directed a national task force for President Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development, co-founded a spiritual and environmental community (Sirius) in Massachusetts and is a Fellow of the World Business Academy.