Visionary leaders are driven and inspired by what a company can become. They are not bogged down with technical details, but they are big picture people whose intent is to usher in new eras of innovation and development.
Leaders who subscribe to this style are tasked with moving the company into a broader direction while promoting unity and tenacity to push through times of uncertainty.
Typically, when a visionary leader is sought out for their leadership and guidance, the company is either experiencing a transition or is set to move through challenging times.
Visionary leaders characteristically bring cohesiveness to inspire everyone to be on the same page. To meet their objectives, visionary leaders are often charismatic and determined. They identify themselves as confident coaches who are meant to guide the organization through transitions or difficult organizational eras.
Visionary leaders are usually brought in during a unique time in an organization. Transformational leaders may be invited to an organization to encourage employee motivation and create leaders. Charismatic leaders might be used to inspire a company to stay the course and generate excitement around the mission and vision. Visionary leaders are tasked with helping to move toward innovation and cultivating a new direction for the company. Therefore, if a business is looking to move to the next level and take on new initiatives or re-evaluate their vision, then a visionary leader is likely the person they should consider working with. Difficult transitions call for the traits of a visionary leader, and it is essential companies realize that when thinking of the type of leader they want to bring in to lead.
- The 7 Traits of a Visionary Leader Part 1
- Strengths of Visionary Leaders Part 2
- Weaknesses of Visionary Leaders Part 3
- Visionary Leadership Best Practices Part 4
7 Traits of a Visionary Leader
Favorable Toward Innovation
Visionary leaders are focused on moving past the status quo and ushering in new projects, acquisitions, or initiatives. As a result, visionary leaders need to be comfortable with failure and volatile effects due to changes.
Leaders who were brought in to guide companies through tumultuous times have to have tenacity and determination. They could likely be dealing with situations where they have to fight against old ideas, company politics, and external pressures.
Visions have to be planned for and thought about strategically. Good visionary leaders will prepare for what they want the organization to look like and create strategies for how they can move towards it. Again, they might not have all the technical details, but they can see and plan for the big picture.
Intelligent Risk Takers
Moving toward a new goal or addressing a vision is a risk. There is no guarantee that strategies will work, but visionaries are comfortable with the uncertainty and take as many measures possible to ensure the plan is successful.
Effective visionary leaders have the ability to cause others to see where they are going and agree to the move toward the new vision. They will likely use their charisma to cause others to understand the larger picture.
Unlike transformational and charismatic leaders, there is an emphasis on visionary leaders creating the team around them. They will be a part of the process to put together departments, functions, and operations that help them reach the new vision.
Intensely Focused and Enthusiastic
In the pursuit to improve performance and spur change, visionary leaders are intensely focused. Their eyes are set toward the goal, and they will do all in their power to create a pathway to accomplishing it. Visionary leaders have the self-control and self-discipline to effect position change and inspire those who report to them. It is hard to follow a leader that does not exhibit the traits they want to see in others, and good visionary leaders understand this. One of the most important characteristics a visionary leader can display is enthusiasm for the vision. Their passion and zeal should reach others and inspire them to feel the same.
Strengths of Visionary Leaders
- Rallying the Troops – Visionary leaders specialize in inspiring those around them to become invested in the vision. They seek to motivate unity and get everyone on the same page during a transition.
- Keep the Focus – While charisma and inspiring others is a part of their leadership style, their primary goal is to keep everyone focused. Visionary leaders have a penchant for being incredibly focused, and they use this quality to push for other employees subscribe to the same philosophy.
- Promotion of Innovation and Creativity – Similar to other leadership styles, visionary leaders not only allow, but encourage those they work with to develop their skills and try out new things. They are optimistic about the future, and in turn, promote creativity and new ideas.
- Inspires a Sense of Accomplishment – Visionary leaders are similar to charismatic ones in that they understand how necessary it is to encourage a sense of accomplishment and to let workers know their contributions are meaningful and useful to the company. Good visionary leaders will align their work back to the ultimate vision and goal.
Weaknesses of Visionary Leaders (Mistakes to Avoid)
- A One-Track Mind – There is strength in a big picture leader. However, there is a probability that visionary leaders could be too concerned with the vision to pay attention to necessary details. Successful visionary leaders realize they either need to become comfortable dealing with details or that they need to get someone around them who is.
- Focusing on the Now – If everything is about the future, then it can be challenging to focus on the here and now. There might be pressing problems and situations that a leader needs to address, but if they are so focused on the future and accomplishing a future goal that they may forget to take into account situations that require their attention in the present.
- Carrying on in Their Absence – If a leader becomes the symbolic face and driving force for a vision if for any reason they can no longer fulfill their duties, then the idea has a chance of disappearing with them. Leaders have to cultivate other individuals who believe in the vision and can continue if something happens that prevents them from carrying out the duty.
- Other Ideas May Take a Back Seat – If a visionary leader becomes so attached to a vision, they could risk missing out on future ideas that might also benefit the company. They might be unwilling to consider a change in the plan or abandoning the vision altogether if they have to seek another alternative.
Visionary Leadership Best Practices
Develop a Vision Statement
To ensure credibility and positive feelings from employees, it is a good practice for visionary leaders to go into the situation with a well-thought-out visionary plan. This can include ideas for processes, staff, and the acknowledgment of strengths and weaknesses. If employees have doubts, then leaders can point to this document to bring clarity and support to the vision.
Always Seek Improvement
Visionary leaders who pay attention to current issues could gain the buy-in and commitment of employees if they understand that there are priorities that need to be addressed in the present. There could be turnover issues, low morale due to layoffs, and a lack of a structure for promotions. For leaders to encourage employees to commit to the vision, they should make addressing these issues a priority. Whether they realize it or not, failing to solve these problems can make reaching the ultimate goal incredibly challenging.
Share the Vision
As soon as possible, visionary leaders need to garner support from those who are working with them. One of the best ways to do this is to make the vision collaborative. Employees should be invited to provide their ideas and work together with leaders to create improvements. In turn, this will make employees feel as if they are not only working to accomplish someone else’s goal, but they will begin to self-identify with it.
Hint: Status.net is a modern tool for effective leaders to share their vision and receive status updates from employees.
Visionary leaders are thought of as individuals who work with the big picture in mind. They know where they want to go, but are not always involved with the smaller details to get there. This is where either becoming comfortable with particulars or engaging someone on the team that is concerned with the details. To get buy-in, visionary leaders need to be as transparent as possible about the budget, processes, and staffing needed to accomplish the goal. It will lend more to their credibility and increase trust.
Leadership is never easy, especially during times of transition or change. It can be even harder when trying to unite a company toward one vision. There are a lot of different personalities, self-interests, and work styles to think about. To be successful, visionary leaders need to remember that their job is not just to get the company to the ultimate goal, but it is to inspire and involve others along the way. Their strength is in creating unity and company loyalty.
Effective leadership is all about communicating effectively.
Status.net is a cloud solution for effective leadership communication. It brings a more light-hearted tone to messaging making it easily digestible, and makes it easy for leaders to provide and receive updates regularly.
How to use Status Platform for effective leadership communication:
- Downward communication:
a) Build trust and improve leadership communication by sharing regular updates and reasoning behind your decisions.
b) Share information about company announcements, branch news, new hires, etc.
c) Share company goals and objectives regularly.
- Upward communication:
a) Easily implement daily or weekly status updates for your team members by creating a status feed “How did you contribute to the team’s goals this week?”.
b) Create automated scheduled questionnaires with questions like “How can we improve?”.
Status Platform allows you to configure granular access permissions to set up who can view the answers (optional).
- For recurrent questionnaires: no one forgets to answer because Status Platform sends automated reminders according to the recurrence schedule you chose.
- Increase workplace satisfaction by improving transparency:
Each status update has a separate section for comments, which is used by team members to clarify information and by leaders to provide guidance and feedback.
- Use status updates for future reference and decrease time and efforts spent on monthly, quarterly, and yearly reporting thanks to powerful filtering and export features.
- Optionally, enrich reports with the latest updates automatically added from web apps your team uses (such as project management tools, version control systems, support systems, financial applications, CRM, etc.) by connecting these apps to your status feed.
- Spend less time on meetings by making them more productive because everyone is on the same page at all times.
- Sharing: Status updates can be either
— exported to files and printed, or sent by email;
— shared with manager online; or
— shared online as company-wide or team-wide status reports, i.e., all team members share their progress with each other.
How to configure status updates:
- Create a “Status Report” applet — customize our preset forms or easily create a new form in minutes.
- Setup reminders if you want your team members to receive automatic reminders when their reports are due.
- Configure who will submit reports by choosing the “Participants” tab.
Step 2: Users will click the “Open Submission Form” button to fill in and submit the report.
Data such as the report type, date and name will be added automatically.
As soon as a new status report is added, participants with “View” rights can view it in real time.
- Set the status applet as “Team-wide” if you want all team members to view each other’s status reports.
- Alternatively, you can make every participant to view his/her own reports only. Manager/stakeholders will view all reports.
- Add, remove, and assign new team members at any time.
As soon as a new status update is added, participants with “View” rights can view it in real time when they log in to their accounts. They will also automatically receive emails with the full text of status updates.