5 Steps To Becoming a Visionary Leader

5 Steps To Becoming a Visionary Leader

Our society has many examples of visionaries. Who do you find inspirational? 

How can you get on the journey to move towards being a visionary leader in your world, whatever sphere of influence that happens to be? 

“First described by Daniel Goleman in 2002, the visionary leadership style was one of six leadership types documented. The leader is inspiring in vision, and helps others to see how they can contribute to this vision; allowing the leader and followers to move together towards a shared view of the future.” https://www.money-zine.com/definitions/career-dictionary/visionary-leadership-style/ 

1. Visionary leaders encourage strong relationships

You know the old saying - If a tree falls in the forest … Well, there is not much impact of having a vision if no one else is impacted or cares to join you in it. 

Live your life and your work life in a way that encourages strong relationships. Listen to people. Be kind. You know the drill. 

2. Visionary leaders narrow down ideas

Visions are much more than just great, creative ideas. 

True visionaries don’t just have a bunch of ideas. I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs, and consider myself one. An issue for many of us is too many great ideas. Some entrepreneurs can think of a new company to start almost daily. Visionaries narrow down their ideas and then flesh out the ones worth pursuing. 

3. Visionary leaders spend time thinking

Visions without effective strategies don’t go far. Depending on your personality and therefore what energizes you, fleshing out a strategy to move your vision towards reality may include surrounding yourself with the right people. Brainstorming is best done with people who know the importance of not blocking the free-flow of ideas. It is best done with people who don’t have to jump to why it won’t work! 

4. Visionary leaders don’t have to hog the limelight

The whole point of being a visionary leader is that you are creating a group or team of people that want to see that vision become reality. These leaders know that it takes more than them to create the changes needed to realize the vision. They also know that the required skill sets for this vision don’t reside in just one person. Leaders who try to take all the glory end up losing team members left and right. 

5. Visionary leaders are flexible

Emotional intelligence includes flexibility. 

Creating strategy with smart and creative people invariably leads to tweaks, changes, and better ideas. To be a visionary leader you will benefit from being flexible. Not being too tied to your ideas but being open to new and better ones. 

What is the point of being a visionary leader? Why not be a follower? 

There is nothing wrong with being a follower. In fact I think we all need to be both - the levels will vary as to which one we do more of. 

Let’s think of it this way. We are each unique. The things I have a vision for will be different than yours. The way I go about accomplishing my vision will be different than you, even if at a high level we have the same vision. 

We can think of many world changers and ask, “What if they did not pursue their vision? How would our world be different?” 

Our world just lost Stephen Hawking. Let’s end with a quote from him: 

"One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don't throw it away" - Interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, June 2010 http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43396627 

Until next time, 


Marilyn Orr, MA, CEC, PCC is an Executive and Leadership Coach with Capacity Building Coaching, holding her Professional Certified Coach designation with the International Coach Federation.

Marilyn provides professional coaching for executive and business leaders, mentor coaching for coaches, and leadership development support in the form of coaching skills training and soft-skills development.

Marilyn is author of everyday resiliency workbook “How Absorbent Are Your Shocks?”, available on Amazon. Subscribe to “Marilyn’s Musings” twice monthly blogposts for more leadership and professional development content.

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