What Is Visionary Leadership?

Visionary leadership style is merely one of six commonly identified leadership styles.
Visionary leadership style is merely one of six commonly identified leadership styles. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Leadership is a quality that often transcends industries. Effective leaders maintain a skillset that allows them to guide a team or organization. Some aspects of leadership can be taught, but a natural inclination to lead others always helps. Nearly all industries define six major styles of leadership, one of which is the visionary.

Purpose of a Visionary Leader

Visionary leaders are tasked with guiding a company in a broad direction. For example, a visionary leader may guide a publishing company from emphasizing traditional print to developing multimedia ebooks. These types of leaders do not typically have much technical expertise in the tasks they are leading. Their role, however, focuses on giving their team the confidence to struggle through.

Qualities of a Visionary Leader

Visionary leaders are defined by their uniting and charismatic attitude. In order for a visionary leader to be successful, he must help unite or overcome differences that threaten to break apart an organization. Engaging this natural cohesion helps employees to work harder than they have before.

Skill Set for Visionary Leadership

Charisma, by its very nature, is the understanding of how you appear to people. As a result, visionary leaders must be resolute in the vision set forth for the organizations. Visionary leaders must teach themselves to be a believable coach of the shared vision; should followers detect uncertainty, they may revert to old ways or ignore the vision entirely.

A Different Leader for Different Times

Leaders do not need to adhere to one leadership style or the other, but must instead inhabit different leadership roles as the need requires. Visionary leaders, as mentioned, are necessary for major transitions in an organization. Visionary leadership may be less effective in environments where major change is not needed or the intellect level of the followers is exceptionally high. Simpler, day-to-day tasks, such as running a manufacturing line, may require a more authoritarian approach to ensure discipline across the organization. Regardless, visionary leadership should not be viewed as “better” or “worse” than any other leadership style, but rather as a tool for helping to accomplish objectives through a group.

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