by Tito Philips, Jnr.
What is the ONE thing that separates leaders from all other people?
This is a continuation of the series on the 3 essential roles of every CEO (leadership, management and entrepreneurship) where I began with the role of the CEO as a Leader and talked about the 3 essential qualities of effective leadership; character, vision and competence.
Character is about who you are as a person. It describes what kind of a person you are and what earns you the privilege to lead others since people naturally like to follow those they respect and those whose life they want to emulate. Until there’s something commendable and worth emulating from you as a person, attempting to lead the right people will be an exercise in futility irrespective of the position you might occupy.
Character is therefore the foundation of effective leadership. In case you missed out on last week’s article where I shared some insights about what it takes to develop the right character necessary for effective leadership, you can read it here; developing the right character for effective leadership. Let’s now go over to the second essential quality of effective leadership – Vision.
Vision –an idea to die for– is the ONE thing that separates leaders from all other people. Your ability to constantly attract and lead the right people depends on the quality of your vision as a leader. You see, leadership does truly begin with you as a person (character) but it is never all about you (self-centeredness).
Leadership is about others; what you want to do for them, with them and in them. Leadership is a stewardship role; you are in charge of making something positive happen. It’s not just about being good (character) it’s also about doing good (vision). It is one thing to have the right character that inspires others to look up to you and willingly want to follow you, the other thing is to ask yourself; “where are they following me to?” or “where am I leading them to?” The answer to this question is what is called Vision and it’s your differentiating mark as a leader.
Vision is the yardstick against which your success or failure as a leader is measured. Your effectiveness as a leader is determined by how well you are able to lead others towards the fulfillment of a vision. Without a vision you cannot unify the collective efforts of the right people. People like to know what they are working towards. The right people don’t just gather around or follow leaders who are only ‘good people’ (character); they want to gather around and follow leaders who are passionate about ‘doing good’ (vision).
So it’s your responsibility as a leader to create a compelling vision that can unify the collective efforts of your people. What is the positive thing that you want to make happen? What is that idea that you’re betting your life on and is worth dying for? What did you create your company to accomplish? What did you go into business to make happen? To what end do you need a team of the right people for?
In answering these questions, here are 5 factors to consider in creating a compelling vision;
- People oriented: a compelling vision begins and ends with people in mind. Why? Because people don’t gather for a leader (person), they gather for a reason (vision). A compelling vision shouldn’t be about what you will get but rather, what you will give as an organization. Make your vision externally rather than internally focused. The more externally focused your vision is, the more commitment it will attract from the right people needed to make it happen.
- Clarity: the essence of a compelling vision is to unify the collective efforts of people and give direction to the entire organization. In order to achieve this, the vision must be clear and shouldn’t be ambiguous. See it big, but keep it short and simple. (SIBKISS)
- Timed: every vision has a specific time line (expiration date). When do you want to accomplish your vision? In creating a compelling vision, always remember that a vision without a time line is just a wish and therefore lacks the much needed sense of urgency that brings about the motivation required to make it happen.
- Measurable: what good is a compelling vision if you can’t determine how well you are doing? In creating a compelling vision, make sure there are specific milestones along the way that indicates how close or how far you are in relation to your vision.
- Achievable: don’t create a lofty vision which you don’t have the required resources (people, knowledge, finance, time etc) to make happen. Always create a compelling vision around your passion and core areas of competence.
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Thanks for reading!
Does your business have a compelling vision? How were you able to create it?