The second Practice of Exemplary Leadership from The Leadership Challenge is to inspire a shared vision. Think about a time in your life when you were truly inspired, when you were on fire about something that mattered to you. In that circumstance, chances are you were part of something bigger than yourself, and there was a leader who brought people together for a common purpose. The best leaders can rally those around them, stirring people to action.
Kouzes and Posner assert that the “most important role of visions in organizational life is to give focus to human energy.” I couldn’t agree more. All of us are searching for our purpose. We long to understand who we are called to be and how we can make a real and lasting impact during our lifetime. When we clearly recognize and embrace the vision for our lives, we can focus our energy on achieving what matters most to us.
As part of inspiring a shared vision, the authors of The Leadership Challenge identify two commitments:
- Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities.
- Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
As leaders, we are called to look toward the future with hope, to imagine what could be rather than being constrained by reality. As George Bernard Shaw so eloquently stated, “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”
Have you ever met someone whose zest for life was infectious? As a leader, your passion and commitment must be contagious; that’s what really inspires people. Transformational leaders unite people. They create community and sustain it. They bring a vision for a better future to life.
Challenge Questions for Today:
- Who inspires you?
- What is your vision for the future? Are you filled with hope when you imagine the possibilities?
- How are you creating a shared vision for your family, your coworkers, and others who follow you?
Check back with us next Friday where we will explore the third Practice of Exemplary Leadership, Challenge the Process. Have an amazing weekend! Spend it with those who matter most to you.
Source: Kouzes, J.M. and Posner, B.Z. (2002). The leadership challenge. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass.