2 Visionary Questions Leaders Need to Ask

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Visionary leadership, more than ever, is needed today.

When people fail to dream, to envision the potential of tomorrow, they grow desperate. A hope-filled vision for the future is the most powerful antidote to overcoming—overcoming shortfalls, barriers, excuses, expectations and realities.

Are you building toward a better tomorrow? Do you believe that tomorrow can be brighter, better and more hope-filled and hopeful than today?

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. –John Quincy Adams

Vision and hope go hand in hand. Hope is the payoff, while vision is the runway. Simply put, a vision is a picture of the future that produces passion in people and instills hope in tomorrow. A clear and compelling future moment in time when we will accomplish what we’ve set out to do.

  • Vision must be sticky. It is caught more than taught.
  • Vision must be casted, and re-casted, but never snatched.
  • Vision should bring out the best in you, and the best in others.
  • Vision should be achievable, but painfully stretching.
  • Vision may seem crazy to many, and annoying to some.
  • Vision will be equally scary and inspiring to you, and a small circle of change makers who will go on the crazy journey with you.
  • Vision should pull you out of your comfort zone.

Hopeful leaders never settle. They are consumed with improvement and making tomorrow better than today. They know there are mountains to climb and a vision to carry out, and they see each day as an opportunity to improve and grow. Give your team reason to believe that tomorrow is filled with greatness waiting to be realized.

The visionary must light a flame. Those who choose to follow its light must work to keep it burning. –Simon Sinek

Leaders are dealers in hope and must give it away constantly and without bias. If a leader wants to make a mark on this world, he or she must have a compelling vision for their work. It must be hopeful and inspiring. And it must be clearly communicated to the team that is tasked with making it a reality. Vision must have tangible results in the real world. Without a real difference made in real people’s lives, a vision is relegated to a pipe dream, a nice statement that slowly fades to a series of wishes posted on the wall.

Great leaders are able to balance the “ought” with the “is.” They demand the achievement of results that people being served can actually count, be measured, and be felt. While also continually painting a passion for the future “ought” to be.

Historically, one of the visionaries who has impacted me is William Wilberforce. He is great example of a leader who painted a picture of the way things “ought” to be. Wilberforce and his band of world changers set out to end the slave trade in England, while also returning manners to the public square.

Vision wed with patience, rooted in sacrifice, combined with endurance, clothed in humility—these mark the road to greatness. –Louie Giglio

Asking the right questions is crucial for leaders.Many times the questions you are asking are way more important than the answers or solutions you are giving, especially in regard to personal vision.
I was reminded of two crucial questions for leaders when recently reading an article by Alan Webber, co-founder of Fast Company. Alan talks at length about these 2 questions in his book Rules of Thumb. These are crucial questions for leaders to answer, both for themselves as well as the organizations they lead.

1. What keeps you up at night? This one is a familiar question for most leaders. What makes you cry? What makes you mad? What are the things that nag at you? This question has to do with what you are passionate about. What are the problems in the world you want to help solve? Usually the things that keep us up can be incredibly frustrating to us until we get them solved.

2. What gets you up in the morning?  This one is less familiar to most of us, but probably even more important. What keeps you and your team committed? Engaged and excited? This question has more to do with purpose. Do you look forward to jumping into the career or current job you have on a daily basis? As things get tougher and more demanding than ever, we need to make sure we are laser focused and determined and locked in on what motivates and drives us.

Try asking and answering these questions to yourself over the next week. You will find yourself building clarity around your vision that will, in turn, instill hope in those around you.

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