We all understand the intrinsic meaning of the word leadership and it's likely we've already encountered many different kinds of leaders in our life. A leader is someone who can influences teammates to work towards a shared goal. But what makes a good leader and why is it important?
Well, there are a couple of pretty important reasons, but research from 2011 (1) found that:
The leader of a team accounts for 31% of whether that team performs well or not.
What we're saying here, is that you can be surrounded by top-tier talent, but to make a performing team this is simply not enough. A good leader is a missing link. Specifically, a leader with the ability to create and communicate a clear vision to the team.
In fact, another research (2) enlighten that the presence of a visionary leader in a team has been proven to increases employee confidence, especially in times of uncertainty and even represents a positive indicator of how fast a startup can grow.
So how do we leverage these interesting results?
First, we need to understand what vision is. Next, we need to create this vision and figure out how to clearly communicate it to the team.
Understanding and Creating a Vision
What vision means is the fundamental topic we need to understand before we even talk about creating something. So what is a vision?
A vision represents an action plan. It describes where, as a company, we are today and in which direction we are going. It's different from the company's mission or the company's values but is something that a leader communicates to the team day by day, through his words and actions.
To be effective, a vision must answer three questions:
- Why does the company exist?
- What identifies the success of our work?
- How should we act to ensure success?
Why does the company exist? When answering this question, you should identify the core purposes of the company and these objectives must be specific enough to guide employees.
For example, LinkedIn exists “to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”. This statement captures the company's core purposes immediately and effectively, making it one of the best examples of mission statements.
What identifies the success of our work? To effectively answer this question, we need to identify who our stakeholder are ( customers, employers and so on ) and visualize how their world will improve if our mission succeed.
How should we act to ensure success? This question allows us to reflect on the essential values that will guide the choices and behaviours of the team and the company. It is important to include and emphasize these values in our vision because it allows our teammates to be autonomous even in difficult situations while remaining within the limits of the company's values.
In the next article in this series, we'll explore some techniques for effectively communicating your vision. Stay tuned!
- DeRue et al., Personnel Psychology, 2011
- Baum & Locke, Journal of Applied Psychology, 2004
The content of this article is excerpted from the course Inspiring and Motivating Individuals on Coursera.