6 Traits of Visionary Leadership

All throughout history, there is no shortage of truly inspirational and visionary leaders.  Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Telsa Motors, Ford Motor Company’s former president and CEO, Alan Mulally, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and of course Steve Jobs.  All of these leaders possess these 6 Traits of Visionary Leadership that inspired their teams to greatness.   

So, what are the skills that stand out as foundational in their approach?

Good Communication Skills

A visionary leader has good communication skills. They know how to verbalize their dreams and goals and can easily explain this to their team. For the leader, communication isn’t just one-sided. In addition to sharing her vision for the future, a visionary leader is also an active listener.

As more people “catch the vision,” leaders listen to their ideas and thoughts, incorporating them into the larger goal. Additionally, visionaries involve others in reaching their milestones and help the team members meet their personal goals.

Charismatic Leadership

Visionary leaders also have a unique charisma. Without question, it’s that certain something that draws people to them. It lifts team spirit and elevates moral which is a gateway to increased productivity.

True, some individuals are born with this type of personal flair but almost anyone can learn how to cultivate the confidence and energy associated with infectious charisma.

Foundation Development

Visionary leaders also are chief organizers. While many leaders have administrators that manage the processes, the leader often sets up the organization by establishing key departments or functions. As the organizer-in-chief, the visionary directs, develops and conducts meetings until reliable help is found. During the initial organization, a leader will take the time to build a solid foundation through establishing boards, councils or a company hierarchy.

Strategic Business Planner

Visionary leaders are strategic planners. Like a chess player, these leaders plan ahead to make the best business moves. Strategic planning involves creating an action plan with a particular strategy in mind. The leader’s vision defines what the organization will look like in the future and how it will function. His strategies are designed to take him toward his ultimate vision.

Risk Taker

Visionary leaders, like Elon Musk, are notable risk-takers. These leaders are willing to gamble on something they believe in, but the gamble is often a measured one. Visionaries are creative people that take the initiative with the appropriate action. Visionaries take intelligent risks that capitalize on prime conditions.

Resilience

Leaders who were brought in to guide companies through tumultuous times have to have tenacity and determination. Furthermore, they could likely be dealing with situations where they have to fight against old ideas, company politics, and external pressures.

Build on Your Natural Abilities

As a leader, you may not embody all 6 Traits of Visionary Leadership mentioned above, and that’s OK. It’s important to know which traits come naturally to you and which may not.

To develop your own leadership style, find a variety of mentors. Mentors can provide experienced perspectives to help you determine the best way to respond to business challenges. These mentors could be peers, potential investors or leaders from entirely different industries.

While you don’t have to follow all the advice you receive, remain receptive to new ideas. Additionally, as you accumulate experience, examine your actions and ask for regular feedback to discover your strengths and weaknesses.

Don’t just rely on your mentors’ experience — search for case studies. Consume as many news stories, articles, documentaries, books, and blog posts as you can. Learn how others approach challenges.

Continued Education

Finally, network to gain additional perspectives. Take advantage of workshops, conferences and other opportunities focused on leadership development to learn new skills and network with others who can offer diverse points of view.

Many of the leaders you admire aren’t superhuman — they’ve honed their ability to utilize their best traits to drive positive change within their organizations. Your approach to a situation can mean the difference between positive mental health and burnout, profit and loss and success and failure. When you learn to harness your greatest strengths, you become a better leader and a catalyst for change.

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