Every prominent leader had a vision that marked the beginning of their journey. Susan B. Anthony envisioned women having the right to vote. Nelson Mandela had a vision of Africa free from Apartheid. Steve Jobs, a visionary well ahead of his time, envisioned the entire future of technology, music and animation.
For these outstanding leaders, their vision alone did not inspire followership. Had they not been dedicated to communicating their vision, it would have never manifested beyond an idea. Without effectively communicating a vision, it is hard to motivate your team to carry the idea into manifestation.
Establishing the Vision
The core of a vision is a clear purpose that drives the leader. This purpose must be universal, useful and accessible, and all components of the company must align with it. To cultivate the type of loyalty, dedication, commitment and excitement that influences your people to feel connected to the vision, they need to be a part of the vision. This means they need to benefit from it somehow. This could be in the form of commissions, ownership stake in the company or promotional opportunities, as these methods reward merits and contributions. Or it could simply be that they believe in what you believe in. Regardless, employees that stand to gain from the vision, either personally or materially, are more likely to build an attachment to its success.
Leaders can involve their people in the process of creating the vision by inviting them into the conversation of creation and ideation. Ask for their input and ideas, allow them to contribute to the development process and collaborate with them about execution strategies. By doing so, the vision becomes a part of them, just as they are now a part of the vision. Their attachment to the idea now becomes personal, emotional and of importance to them.
When they do their job, it is not a pay cheque that is driving them, but the expectation of expansion and growth. It’s the joy of watching their ideas become part of something bigger. By inspiring your teams, and promoting a sense of shared-ownership, you’ll be more effective as a visionary leader.
Communicating the Vision
Effective leaders are able to articulate their goals well and often. Steve Jobs was known for conducting weekly meetings with his teams to provide feedback and in doing so was providing them with regular realignment with his vision. This consistent cycle of communication between a leader and their team creates unification and cohesiveness.
Prominent leaders can convey to each individual precisely how their contributions help the vision achieve manifestation. Not only does the individual understand the importance of their role, they also gain clear insight in how their role is connected to the overall strategy. They are aware of the value of their personal contributions and that commitment and dedication are as necessary as competency.
A leader’s vision is only as good as the methods used to develop and communicate it. If the vision is not effectively established and communicated, it will be difficult to create a strategy that when executed, brings empowering life to the idea. This will in turn create difficulty in motivating teams to truly connect with the vision. And since emotion drives action, the best way to ensure that communication resonates with people is if its goal is to engage them emotionally.
Tania Watson is the founder of Creative Coaching and an executive coach, organisational consultant and leadership specialist. Creative Coaching is a successful company dedicated to the development of senior leaders in organisations through one to one coaching, intact team development and group facilitation. If you or someone from your organisation would like to have a no obligation conversation about how Creative Coaching may be able to help, please email Tania directly at email@example.com.