Clarity is something that is severely lacking in modern life.
In an era where disruption is revered, and the only certainty is change, we grow up to be comfortably uncomfortable with the fact that there will always be a decent percentage of the days and weeks ahead that will be shrouded in uncertainty. Things might turn out this way, or they might turn out that way. We’ll just have to be agile enough to deal with whatever comes along. Although this is normal for many of us, it is a highly stressful state to find ourselves in – sometimes you just need someone to shine a light on what’s on the horizon.
Taking their teams by the hand and painting a picture of how they see the future (at any particular moment in time) is the role of a visionary leader.
They are constantly risking being proved “wrong” but if they harness the wisdom of the crowd, they can often be the conduit for a collective wisdom that would not otherwise have appeared. The leader that shares their vision of the future without tapping into the knowledge of their people is likely to paint only a two dimensional picture, but the most enlightened leaders channel the views of their people and decide to share them rather than keep their cards close to their chest.
Sharing knowledge is the biggest gift that a leader can give their people.
Asking their people for their views and moulding it into a commonly held vision is something that only the most selfless of leaders can do. The future comes alive through their people, and they see a key part of their job as sharing it. Too many leaders are driven by ego to allow their personal vision of the future to be hijacked by the view of their team. These selfish leaders don’t share their views because they fear that someone might adopt them for themselves.
Facilitating a common vision of what tomorrow might bring and then sharing it – that is how leaders shine a light amongst the darkness.
A second aspect to this is that the communication must happen regularly. Small but frequent updates are easier to incorporate into the daily direction of work and are far less stressful that a quarterly strategy update that might bring all sorts of changes to direction. Leaders have to spend a considerable amount of time and effort updating their people and supporting them along the journey. If they do this, they will learn from the incremental feedback and the likelihood of keeping the ship on the right course will be far higher.
As an employee of a leader who is transparent about their vision of the future, you have that added sense of security that you are involved in what is to come. There is nothing worse than going to work and wondering what the next weeks and months will bring – a leader that communicates the common vision is a leader who has the trust and respect of their people.