The core of leadership, it seems to me, lies in the ability of the leader to visualise where the company is going and what it will look like in the future.
Adherents of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) will tell me that is only applicable if the leader happens to be a “visual” individual and the ability will be different if the inherent style is aural or kinaesthetic.
However, the ability to define the future is an inbuilt advantage which most successful leaders possess. Please note: I did say “define the future”, not “predict the future”.
Any sort of prediction especially in a chaotic economic environment is fraught with danger and reminds me of the old line that economists have predicted seven out of the last three recessions.
To define the future is an entirely different exercise. It is predicated on the assumption that the business has firm objectives, a bright shining star which everyone is dedicated to reach.
The setting of specific, SMART objectives is a team exercise but the definition of “where we are going” on which the objectives are based, must, I believe, be the responsibility of the leader, even if it is encapsulated in just a few simple words.
That vision of what the business will look like in the future has to be communicated incessantly and consistently at all times, in all places and to everyone so that there is never any doubt as to “where we are going”.
It is the elevator or stump speech (no more than 40 words in 15 seconds) given by the leader which will define the future and enthuse the team.
But remember, it begins and ends with the vision and that is the responsibility of the leader. After all, vision is seeing what life could be like while dealing with life as it is.
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