The first requirement for a leader is a strong sense of purpose. A vision of what could and should be is a basic force that enables the leader to recognize what must be done and to do it. Vision inspires others and causes the leader to accept the duties of leadership, whether pleasant or unpleasant. A sense of vision is especially powerful when it embodies a common cause – overcoming tyranny, stamping out hunger, or improving the human condition.
Native Americans believe that the leader should look to the seventh generation when making decisions today, and this will ensure that a vision is sound and just. Antoine de Saint-Exupery once commented on the imaginative nature of vision, saying, “A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”
Examples of leadership vision and its power can be seen in computer pioneer Steve Jobs, who foresaw a computer on every desktop and in every home, and in business entrepreneur Bill Gates, who asked the optimistic and compelling question, Where do you want to go Today? Jobs of Apple and Gates of Microsoft have altered business and society in irreversible ways.
If you are the leader of a work group or organization, you should ask, Do I have a plan? What is my vision of what this department or organization should be?
Look out for tomorrows post on the Ability leadership quality!