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Visionary Leadership

Key Idea  

Vision begins with the future. The visionary leader offers the world a unique signpost – often nothing more than a compelling idea or image – of a not-yet future. Think Henry Ford’s vision of an affordable car or Steve Jobs’s vision of a desktop computer for personal use. The visionary leader is the architect of the enterprise’s future,  often by challenging the status quo and anticipating new (and unseen) opportunities.

Book to Read

Visionary Leadership
by Burt Nanus (1995)

Quick take from the Book  

The visionary leader often takes on four roles:

  1. Direction Setter (establishing and articulating a new course or target).
  2. Change Agent (creating the urgency to make your vision a reality).
  3. Spokesperson (building the relationships and networks to excite others in your vision).
  4. Coach (modeling the vision and what you will do to make it happen).

Quote of Note  

"Vision inspires people by transcending the bottom line People are willing, even eager, to commit voluntarily and completely to something truly worthwhile, something that will make life better for others, or that represent a significant improvement for their community or country, or that enables their own organization to grow and progress….The right vision transcends the status quo. It provides the all-important link between what is now taking place and what the organization aspires to build in the future. The vision is the beacon, the sense of destination shared by the people who care most about the organization’s future."  —  pp. 17-18

Related Styles: Charismatic Leadership

Return to List of Leadership Styles