It is often said that a leader must have vision and that a leader without a vision is bound to fail. Why does having a vision matter and how does this affect the staff and employees. This article explores the importance of vision and sharing it with others in order to become a better leader.
Why Having a Vision is Important
A vision is much like a mission statement. It is an ultimate goal to aspire to. Without an ultimate goal it is easy to become reactive and only respond to short term problems. Unfortunately, this can lead to suboptimal solutions and give the advantage to your competitors who might have a well-defined vision.
There are numerous examples from history of why vision is critical in business. Here is Henry Ford’s vision of Model T car:
“I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one, and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.”
Ford had a clearly defined vision for the car and he did not stop until he achieved that specific goal. He did not compromise midway due to various obstacles, nor did he give up on the idea. He simply pushed on ahead until he and his staff managed to produce the first affordable automobile in the world. Just to know what it takes to follow a vision, consider the naming of his car. Ford used a letter to name his experimental cars. He started with “A” and it took until “T” before he could make a commercially successful car. Failure did not stop him, for he had a vision. If he did not have a vision and a sense of purpose, he would have never made it beyond a few initial letters in the alphabet! But when he did and went all the way, he made history.
Having a vision is not enough. You also need to share it with others, your staff and team members so they know where they are going as much as you do and as much as you want.
Why a Vision Need to Be Shared
Consider the following reasons to share your vision with others:
1. Sharing a vision helps to reinforce the way that a leader sees the ideal future. This reinforcement helps to align goals and also increases the bonding between followers and leaders.
2. Followers are not mind readers. As a leader, you cannot expect others to know what you had in your mind and why certain things are more important than others. By sharing your vision, you also share the way tasks are prioritised. This helps staff to decide wisely, even in your absence of supervision, because they understand the ultimate goal. They can feel excited about their goal and make correct decisions that will get everyone closer to it.
3. By sharing an ideal future, you encourage all members to be on the same path. This creates a harmonious team that acts in a consistent way to get closer to a common goal which is well-defined and well-understood. The better you share your vision with them, the better their understanding and their commitment. Numerous studies show that team members become disillusioned or disinterested when they have no idea what is expected of them or what is the point of doing the required tasks.
4. When you share your vision with others, you encourage them to get excited about the goal as much as you are excited about it. This helps to bring creative energy and a sense of purpose which you will not be able to get any other way.
5. By sharing your vision, others can understand where you are heading and what that means to the fate of your organisation. This can help to foster confidence in what they do and also feel proud that they are part of a forward-looking organisation which is not sitting idly and is instead very much informed about the current and future trends. This energy and confidence can in turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy where the company become the best in its field.
When providing management training, it is important to emphasise on these two critical areas. Leadership Skills Training Materials and Management Courses must provide exercises and historical evidence to help delegates fully remember these concepts in the future and apply them to their own organisations.