9 A Leader’s Vision

A clear and well-communicated vision is essential for a leader to gain support and for followers to understand a leader’s goals.

A vision is defined as a clear, distinctive, and specific view of the future, and is usually connected with strategic organizational advances. Effective leaders will clearly define a vision and communicate it in such a way as to foster enthusiasm and commitment throughout the organization. This ability to express a vision and use it to inspire others differentiates a leader from a manager.

Many researchers believe that vision is an essential quality of effective leaders, as important as the abilities to communicate and to build trust. Leader’s decisions and strategies reflect their view of what an enterprise can be rather than what it currently is. A strong leader builds trust in the vision by acting in consistent ways with the vision and by demonstrating to others what it takes to make the vision a reality.

Vision is an essential component of an organization’s success. A thriving organization will have a vision that is succinct, indicative of the direction that the company is heading, and widely understood throughout all levels of the organization. The more employees are aware of, understand, and believe in the vision, the more useful it is in directing their behavior on a daily basis.

Vision and mission are sometimes used interchangeably, but there is a useful distinction. A vision describes an organization’s direction, while its mission defines its purpose. By focusing on the value an organization creates, the mission helps prioritize activities and provides a framework for decision-making.

Vision also plays a significant role in a leader’s strategy for the organization. By setting the direction, a vision underscores the necessity of all the areas of a business working toward the same goal. This unity of purpose often involves changing what is done and how, and aligning the activities and behavior of people is critical to fulfilling a leader’s vision. A vision reduces ambiguity and provides focus—two benefits that are especially valuable in turbulent or rapidly changing times.


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Cultivating Your Leadership Capabilities by Graduate Studies, Granite State College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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