Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence, discussed what makes a leader a visionary. Visionary leadership is defined by the need for emotional intelligence or EI, a compelling vision and the ability to take charge.

Some of the greatest examples of visionary leadership are Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malala Yousafzai. They’ve done great things for the people and the world at large. Each had a vision for the future and a cause to dedicate themselves to.

 So, what makes a leader, a visionary? Read on to find out.

  1. What Is Visionary Leadership?

  2. What Is The Visionary Management Style?

  3. The Nature Of Leading Yourself

What Is Visionary Leadership?

Visionary leadership is leadership that looks at long-term goals based on big picture thinking. The meaning of visionary leadership is having the ability to inspire others to contribute toward these long-term goals. Leaders who walk with their team toward their destination are considered visionary.

According to Goleman, a visionary leader relies on a “come with me” style of management. It’s about collaboration, teamwork and honest and open communication. Today, many organizations have adopted this management style to create flat structures where there’s no hierarchy.

What Is The Visionary Management Style?

In a professional setting, a manager with a visionary management style leads their team to success in the most efficient, effective and timely manner. Teams can accomplish individual and collective goals if they work together in harmony. At the helm, you need a visionary leader to guide and motivate you to be your best.

A visionary leader or manager has the best interests of their employees at heart. They want their teams to succeed against all odds. More than that, they aspire to lead with empathy, mutual respect and trust. The bedrock of such relationships is honest communication.

 Here are some visionary leadership characteristics you may find in the workplace:

  1. Big Picture Thinking

There’s a saying that goes, “Don’t miss the forest for the trees.” Often, managers get caught up in the nitty-gritty of everyday tasks. The forest represents the overarching goals or the vision. The trees are daily activities and short-term objectives that build toward your long-term goal. You must try to strike a balance between the two so you don’t lose sight of what’s important.

  1. Overcoming Challenges

Qualities of a visionary leader involve the ability to overcome setbacks with a positive, proactive mindset. Just because you failed at a task doesn’t mean you have to stop the entire project. You need to come up with solutions to your problems in a time-bound, cost-effective way. This will help you tackle changes to the business environment like moving to a remote work culture, or returning to office after working from home for a year.

  1. Encouraging Creativity In Business

Creativity in business refers to innovation, creative problem solving and novel ways to do routine tasks. Visionary leaders encourage their employees to be creative and come up with fresh and new perspectives. This keeps organizations at the top of their game. They’re able to compete with others in the same industry by driving innovation in their products or services.

  1. Appreciating Others

A visionary leader never works alone—or takes credit for their team’s efforts. Acknowledging others is one way to show your employees you trust them. We want to feel valued and appreciated if we’re giving so much of our time and putting in so much hard work. A leader who embraces this management style is well-liked, respected and trusted.

  1. Being Accountable And Responsible

Visionary leadership goes hand in hand with accountability and responsibility. A manager who’s willing to take responsibility for their actions is an inspiring leader. Employees will be more willing, open and proactive when they know they can trust their leader.

Qualities of a visionary leader range from effective communication to being transparent. There are several other management styles that leaders may possess. But for longevity and attainable goals, visionary leadership is the most effective management style for business and professional success.

The Nature Of Leading Yourself

Harappa’s Leading Self course will give you a pathway to becoming a visionary leader by being the best version of yourself. Key frameworks like the Performance EquationThe Ladder of Learning and The Iceberg Model teach you how to overcome limiting beliefs and understand your core competencies. Develop a growth mindset and step outside your comfort zone with tips from our excellent faculty who enrich our course with their anecdotes and lived wisdom.


Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as Vision Statement, Difference Between Visions And Goals, Examples Of a Vision Statement and Difference Between Vision And Mission to advance in your career.

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