The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born – that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. Failing organizations are usually over-managed and under-led.
Leaders are men and women of vision- not just grandiose vision, though that larger vision is important. In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins calls it a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” They also see what needs to be done right now, today and tomorrow. They let the energy of that vision move them through a problem, even if the solution isn’t readily apparent.
Leaders have vision. They have 20/20 foresight. They see the future as clearly as others see the past. They learn from the past, but their focus is on the future- where they are headed, not where they’ve been.
Twenty-twenty foresight is a common trait among successful people. They see very clearly what hasn’t happened yet but intend it to- and it does. They stay focused on the destination. They put their hand to the plow, they don’t look back, and they reap the harvest.
The road to success is paved with small and sometimes tedious boring steps. Every successful leader I know of what clear about what he or she wanted and why, and was willing to do a lot of difficult, even tedious work to get there. These leaders approached even tedium with a certain degree of enthusiasm because they saw the direct connection to getting what they desired. Successful people are constantly focused on the prize with 20/20 foresight, and they let the thrill of that vision give them the energy to do what is necessary to get there.
Successful leaders are willing to accept changing circumstances, yet keep their foresight 20/20. By reinforcing the vision they are ensuring it becomes important in the minds of their people, importance drives passion, the more a leader refers to their vision the more employee passion will grow for the vision. A good leader acts strategically, they craft out a vision and refer constantly to their vision, in their communications and when giving feedback. They are firstly a good manager and they are focused on their people, surrounding themselves with good people.
What kind of leader are you being? Where is your organization in relation to your vision?
“The best example of leadership is leadership by example. “ – Jerry McClain