Visionaries, Part I

We all tend to fit one of seven types of change leader, each of which indicates a different mix of leading with Head, Heart, or Hands. The second change leader type is the Visionary, the primarily Head-focused leader.

The Visionary is a goal-directed change leader who puts the vision, mission, and objectives of a change before all else. Most people see Visionaries as strategic, future-focused, big-picture leaders, interested in emerging trends and excited by new possibilities. But at the same time, Visionaries may not give enough attention to basic managerial tasks, and they may overlook the individual needs of others.

If you’re a Visionary, more than any other style you focus on the long-term, overarching goals of the change process. You value the future and spend copious amounts of time and energy thinking about exciting new directions, scanning the horizon for what’s next, and capitalizing on trends. You excel at independence, imagination, and forward motion.

In your zeal for new possibilities, you may, however, lose sight of current realities. You would do well to adopt a more tactical approach to the change process, focusing on delineating specific milestones, time frames, accountabilities, and resources to meet the objectives of the change project. You also tend to place too little emphasis on communicating with the people impacted by the change; thus, employees who work with or under you sometimes have unaddressed concerns and may not be fully on board with the project.

As a Visionary, your strengths are that you tend to:

  • Focus on the goal
  • Look forward to the future
  • Take a big-picture view
  • Enjoy seeing new possibilities
  • Scan the horizon for the next big opportunity

Despite these assets, your focus on the future leaves you with some blind spots in the present. Visionaries may also have the tendency to:

  • Not fully consider the effect a change will have on organizational culture
  • May be less apt to focus on the individual needs of team members
  • Complain about lack of progress toward goals
  • Do not give sufficient attention to the process by which goals are reached
  • Neglect to ensure that the tactical details of the change process are handled

Your strengths mean that you are seen as an independent, imaginative go-getter but the flip-side of that is that you are occasionally seen as unrealistic and a bit of a dreamer. When you have a full understanding of these facets of your leadership style, you can go about maximizing the good and minimizing the weak spots.

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