Emails hit you like waves, crises tear at your sails, institutions rise and fall with each swell and you are responsible for your crew! Leadership challenges are as powerful as a storm at sea. Luckily your leadership vision is a mast you can lash yourself to like Ulysses did when approaching the Sirens.
Stewart D. Friedman, professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, the founding director of the Wharton Leadership Program, author and creator of Total Leadership, describes personal leadership vision as “an essential means for focusing attention on what matters most; what you want to accomplish in your life and what kind of leader you wish to be.” A clear leadership vision is essential for success in today’s volatile, uncertain and chaotic sea of work.
Friedman describes four crucial elements of a leadership vision and encourages leaders to the work required to identify and develop:
- A compelling story of the future that will engage people. What in the future captures your heart and will encourage others to join?
- An image of the future. What do you see in the future? What will it actually look like and how will others see themselves in the future?
- An achievable but challenging view of the future. A realistic enough vision that it won’t be dismissed out of hand and will motivate people to work with you.
- A forward focus. A vision of the future that compels action today to get there.
Holding on to a powerful vision can help you survive the storms of leadership and stay focused on how to make a significant difference at your institution and with your people.