Characteristics of Visionary Managers

Visionary management stresses long-term strategic thinking and evaluation.
Visionary management stresses long-term strategic thinking and evaluation. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Visionary management, the management process of creating strategic plans based on full evaluations of available resources, requires a particular kind of manager. Contrary to traditional management that emphasizes hierarchical relationships with little upward feedback, visionary management requires a manager who is deliberative and open to information inputs, flexible, forward-thinking and strategic.

Deliberative and Open

As the name suggests, visionary management is primarily about "seeing" and taking stock of all available resources and current practices. In fact, the first step in visionary management requires a manager who is able to see all the resources at his disposal before thinking of a plan and executing it. This process requires a certain openness to information flowing from employees, who have the most complete daily understanding of the resources they use. A visionary manager must be willing to accept this upward feedback and include it in his deliberations between different development strategies.


Of course, a manager's view of resources and processes can be conditioned by his position at the top of the company. As the old adage goes, "It's lonely at the top," and a visionary manager must not only be willing to include other employees in the decision-making process but be flexible in his planning to include new perspectives. This is often the most difficult part of visionary management. Managers must be willing to relinquish their view of the company and conventional management wisdom in order to hear and include perspectives from others in the company, including employees at the bottom of the hierarchy who might have unique insights.


Once a visionary manager has taken full stock of the company's situation, he must also be willing and able to project those resources into the future for optimal development. Not attached to convention or traditional ways of getting things done, a visionary manager is able to see how resources will develop in the future under different circumstances. This vision applies both to capital resources like buildings and cash, and to employees, with a view that emphasizes the constant improvement of resources – through training programs and reinvestment strategies – to increase the possibility of success.

Organized and Strategic

A visionary manager with a complete idea of his company's strengths and weaknesses is also able to coordinate all of the company's resources into a strategic plan for the future. This process involves identifying contradictions between different company processes and potential synergies where one asset or process could contribute to the development of another. Such a global, strategic view of the company allows it to become more effective and efficient, and ensures that all of its resources are working toward a common goal.

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