“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18
We can also say, where there is no communication of that vision, the people become confused and upset. As a leader, you would do well to make these your life mottos. If you’re stuck in your vision or unsure how to communicate it, leadership coaching will help you. Coaching guides you into a thoughtful process of goal setting and pathway development to help you reach your desired goals.Let’s talk about vision. Why is it so important? According to Oxford Languages, vision is the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom. To have a futuristic imagination is a unique gift. Leaders stay in touch with their inner child and dream. They don’t allow obstacles to stop them, but rather they find a way to overcome the barrier.
To a visionary, the world is theirs for the taking and it’s exhilarating. If communicated correctly, the leader can plant that same vision seed inside those who are following. A leader will take risks and inspire others to join them.
I knew nothing about business or nonprofits, but I believed in a dream of a coffee shop for teens. After a few years of planting the seeds of vision with community leaders, politicians, and the media, the dream became a reality. An entire community came together to renovate a space, donate equipment, and volunteer as baristas. Two years into this adventure, I realized that grants were unreliable, and we needed a stable secondary income.
Although my staff and I knew nothing about coffee roasting, we saw the potential income in developing our own product. Taking the risk, we bought a roaster and learned. Fast forward a few years, the coffee is growing in popularity and is creating the income for which we had hoped. Vision plus risk becomes reality. If we didn’t step outside the norm of grants and fundraisers, the non-profit wouldn’t be thriving and expanding.
Just remember, that if you as a leader are in a slump, then those around you will fall into that same slump. Your business or ministry will cease to grow. The saying, “We’ve always done it this way,” is just another way of admitting that there is no more vision, no more imagination, no more dreaming just indifference.
An apathetic attitude is the death of many organizations. Employee and volunteer turnover runs high in organizations that don’t have a clearly defined vision. People need to know what they are working towards. If they’re unsure, it will show in their work. If the organization that you’re leading isn’t moving forward, ask yourself two questions:
- How’s my imagination?
- How am I communicating the future vision to my employees?
There’s that miserable “C” word: communication. This is an easy decision, but it’s so difficult to do because there are so many personalities that make up the human race. Some people are auditory learners while others are visual and kinesthetic.
As a leader, you must know your audience and their communication styles. I feel the cringing going on as you read this because it’s so time-consuming to communicate. I’m sure you’ve heard of the laws of seven touches. It usually takesseven times for a person to finally understand and remember what you want from them. This can be done in several ways:
- Email instructions
- Text brief reminders
- Verbal meetings
- Post in a common area
- Put deadlines and notes on the shared calendar
- Have a shared task app with reminders set
- Have check-in meetings
When someone claims they didn’t know, you now have leverage. Then ask the question, “you didn’t know, or you didn’t understand?” Those are two different things. One removes the responsibility from you while the other places the responsibility on the listener to communicate that they didn’t understand the instructions.
Communicate in a way that makes others succeed. One afternoon, my family and I went out for a special lunch. Having food sensitivities, we ordered gluten-free spaghetti. We waited and waited and waited. Eventually, our server returned looking very frustrated.
Embarrassed, she explained that the gluten-free noodles had never been delivered that morning and the cooks and managers never told the wait staff. The poor girl was mortified. This is not setting those in your employ for success. Instead, it places people in a position to be yelled at by angry customers. If the lack of noodles had been communicated, this debacle could have been avoided.
Think about it. If your people succeed, then you succeed. It’s that simple, but there are far too many leaders that don’t think that way. It takes a sense of humility to understand your employees/volunteers. When interviewing for a job, an employer once told me that it was my job to understand everything about him, but he didn’t need to know about me.
I was stunned to hear this and thought about withdrawing my application. I didn’t and I deeply regret it. His attitude explains why he had to replace admins every six months. As a boss, it is his job to know those who are working for him. As with every relationship, there needs to be a balanced give/take ratio.
Another form of communication is active listening. When an employee/volunteer comes to you as a leader and expresses burnout, the answer is not to insist that they have plenty of time to accomplish even more! The correct way to handle it is to ask questions, summarize what you’re hearing, empathize, and then explore solutions together. If you take that approach, chances are you’ll gain more out of them. People just need to be heard.
Need help in reclaiming vision and communication? Leadership coaching will help you discover your belief systems and areas of burnout that may be causing you to lose sight of your goals. Maybe you’ve run into the dream squashers and now feel insecure about sharing your vision with others.
All of these can be explored through leadership coaching. If God has called you to lead, then let’s get those wheels of imagination moving again. Your dreams are needed and necessary or God wouldn’t have given them to you. Reach out today to begin your journey with leadership coaching!
“Goal-Plan-Success”, Courtesy of Geralt, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Coffee Science”, Courtesy of Nathan Dumlao, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Teamwork”, Courtesy of Krakenimages, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Pixie Light Bulb”, Courtesy of Riccardo Annandale, Unsplash.com, CC0 License