Leadership is complex and many define it by saying, “I know it when I see it.” If you read or follow the biographies of many leaders there are a few traits or skills that seem to reveal themselves. Many books and articles talk about leadership and explore the skill sets and attributes of an effective leader. When it all is synthesized. It basically comes down to this: If you don’t know where we are going, we won’t know when we get there.
Where Are We Going?
A leader has to provide a vision. Part of that vision has to include an idea about where the organization is now and where it wants to be, and when do we want to get there. If you aren’t going anywhere, you really don’t need a leader. If you are going from where you are to someplace better, you want a leader with an idea as to where that better place is and how you can get there. The best leaders persistently reiterate their vision for the future state to which they are guiding their organization.
Why Are We Going There?
Great leaders don’t make change for the sake of making change. They’ve do their home work to know exactly why they have chosen the future towards which they are moving and what it means to the organization. When you leave known, even if it is awful, you must know and understand why. An assessment of the risk of staying where you are and continuing past practices versus what is gained by pursuing new future state. Visionary leaders are able tp paint clear pictures of the big question, WHY?
What Will We Become?
When we change, obviously we become different. Effective leaders explain how the organization and the associates will be changed. The leader is asking for the individuals to adopt a new set of beliefs, a new set of behaviors, and a new set of skills. The leader must define the future state of all of the associates. This basic question must be answered in every speech, email, or individual conversation until and after the new state is achieved.
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