Leadership With Vision – The Spark That Counts
By Rogene Baxter
All leaders need to have vision because it is vision that leads leaders. Being a leader is not an appointed position! Being a leader means that there are people who are following you: they may be people on your team, other people in your organization, even clients and customers. As you lead and as people look to you for leadership, a vision gives you the spark that others want to catch.
1. Vision starts with you. Leadership development begins with self knowledge and understanding. It is then important to understand those whose preferred behavioral and communication styles are different from yours. As a leader, you need to understand, respect, and yes, even enjoy all styles.
A vision is a positive picture of the future and a simple question might be, “What are you building”? Is your vision a part of your motivation? To answer that, you might ask, “What am I passionate about?” “What is my sense of where I want this organization to be in three years and how will I help get us there?” The answers to these questions will lead you to thinking and creating possibilities and exploring the depth of your vision. Who comes to mind that has clearly led with a passion for his/her vision?
2. Vision draws on your life journey. What has your life/career journey been like so far? What has worked well for you and helped you to grow? What kind of employee/customer has followed you in the past? What are the important lessons you have learned? How will these lessons help you to form your vision?
3. Vision meets the needs of those you lead. This is the hard part . Leadership is not about you. It is about the people who follow you! The vision starts with you, of course, and the spark of your vision attracts those with similar interests/desires/ motivation. Not all managers are leaders because one of the things leaders focus on is working to meet the needs of their staff/team members. There is a tendency of managers to direct and tell people what they need to do. Their job as manager is to get the work done. Leadership is about influencing people to follow your lead with energy and enthusiasm, to gather input from them and to get the work done, usually more quickly, more effectively and with full engagement.
An example: Nancy is an R.N. and has a passion for hospice care. She recognizes that one way to assure the highest quality of care is to build a work environment that will support it. Her vision for that work environment includes:
• Harmony, cooperation and collaboration, applied to problem solving for initiating new ideas to improve care, work processes, and teamwork.
• People trust each other and all employees are treated fairly; all are recognized as valuable contributors to the success of the organization.
• People are proud of their work and their organization
• There is a sense of enjoyment throughout the organization of each other and of “the work”.
• People push themselves to meet challenges with enthusiasm ˜ even change becomes just another challenge for creativity.
• Everyone is encouraged to continue to learn and develop professionally.
To be sure that this vision becomes a reality, there is much for Nancy to do. Patience is a virtue – one step at a time, knowing that her vision is a three-year Implementation process. She needs to plan it carefully, mindful that “failing to plan is planning to fail”!
• Her first step will be to build sincere relationships with all those in the organization and especially with those she will lead.
• Nancy must be trustworthy, the biggest key to successful leadership.
• She will then share her vision by engaging others in all parts of her plan.
• Nancy and her followers will move forward with intention.
Results Nancy can expect:
• An energetic workplace where cooperation and collaboration are the norm
• Increased retention of staff at all levels
• A reputation in the community for being the “best place to work” and in the community for providing the highest quality of care
• Increased productivity ˜ more gets done in less time
• Organizational goals are met and the business is thriving.
Take time to reflect on your own leadership skills and identify your vision. The spark will touch your followers and your work will flourish!
The Bridgewater Group
We strengthen the way people work together to meet performance and business goals.
Working in a systems-wide manner, we provide initiatives for Leadership, Management and Team Development; and Customer Service.