The new year has started and Jennifer Vanmeter, Senior Principal at The Clearing, made sure it was one to remember, especially as this was her last class with us. The topic for January was ‘Leading a Vision.’ Leading means setting direction, aligning resources, inspiring action, and most importantly, being responsible for results.
There are various types of leaders in the world. The most ineffective type of leaders are those that take no responsibility for results. The second most ineffective type of leaders are those that are too locked into their own vision. These types of leaders yearn for team members to buy into their vision, yet fail to understand why the team members do not. Despite the expansive vision of these leaders, this lack of buy-in tends to result from the leader developing a need to control the vision and not allowing outside inputs. The need to control leads to micromanaging, which I’m sure everyone can agree, nobody appreciates. The best leaders are willing to state what is incomplete in a vision and ask for input. They allow ideas to flow and surface to the top as team members determine how they can complete the vision. These types of leaders also promote great ownership of these ideas across the team.
One of the most poignant points Jennifer went over was that people tend to fall in love with a vision. People make decisions emotionally and attempt to justify them rationally. Within this same vein, great vision provides direction, but doesn’t necessarily state exactly how to get there.
The topics Jennifer discussed were inspirational and uplifting. It was freeing to be reminded that people just need a spark to remind them that they’re part of something bigger. Leaders aren’t there to have all the answers; they are there to know how to inspire those around them by admitting that they do not know all the answers. This honesty inherently makes a leader become human and in turn, makes those around him or her more likely to openly express their own ideas to complete the vision.
This post was written by LDP Participant Jennifer Mason, Associate at Markon Solutions.
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