Effective Leaders have Vision, but what IS “Vision”?!

Many people believe that leaders carry the inherent characteristic of being “visionary”. This is true, but the concept of vision is “out there”, esoteric, and can be hard to grasp.

So, how can you “teach” vision? Aren’t visionary leaders somehow “special” in that regard?

(If you’ve been part of a Group Dynamic leadership workshop, forgive this content. This is an exercise that you’ve already done, so it may be redundant for you, but feel free to pass this on to someone who you think needs it!)

OK, let’s make this concept of vision easier, more concrete, more actionable, and more “learn-able”.

First, a working definition of “vision” as it applies to leaders:

Read moreEffective Leaders have Vision, but what IS “Vision”?!

Effective Leaders Pause and Listen

This morning, I read an article in T+D by Nance Guilmartin about the importance of cultivating humility in an organization’s leaders.

She poses a great question:

“What don’t I know I don’t know?”

Putting the needs of others first, and acting in support of your organization are key elements of servant leadership. That’s basic.

But there can be an arrogance there, too. You can assume that you know what is needed – because you’re the leader, and you ought to know.

This is what Peter Block refers to as a paternalistic view of leadership — “taking care” of people who “don’t know better” as opposed to a true commitment to learning what is needed.

Example:

Read moreEffective Leaders Pause and Listen

Leaders increase effectiveness by changing things up

I’ve been reading about the Adaptation Principle. This can take on many forms depending on the venue (it’s very popular in exercise physiology), but in organizations it goes something like this:

When we get used to things, we don’t notice them as much. We also don’t think about their meaning.

Examples:

Read moreLeaders increase effectiveness by changing things up

Breath Support to the End of the Phrase is a Key Deliverable

or

How is being an effective band director like running a good business?

or

What if the best practices in band program administration collide with the best practices in managing and developing employees?

It is striking how the franchise prototype model outlined in “The E-Myth” coincides with an effective, student-leader-empowered, music program:

  • Must provide consistent value to customers (students), employees (staff and student leaders), suppliers (parents), and lenders (school district curriculum and administration).
  • Results must be attainable by people with the skill level they already have.
  • Must stand out as a place of impeccable order and structure.
  • All work must be defined in operations manuals. (Clear standards of “how we do things around here”)
  • Events must unfold in a predictable, orderly, way.
  • Must utilize a uniform color, dress, and facilities code.

Read moreBreath Support to the End of the Phrase is a Key Deliverable