A study by the Development Dimensions International measured the leadership's core skills: independent thinking (30% globally, 42% European business leaders), strategic and creative thinking (20% globally vs. 23% in Europe), the ability to drive oneself and others (16% vs. 23%), planning and anticipation (16% vs. 15%).
Business vision and future
People are not led by analyzes and plans, but by the light in which the future is depicted. Or the vision is light colored by the values, beliefs and skills of the leader to inspire people. This light is being spread throughout the organization, from top management to front-line employees.
Through the vision, the leader expresses the potential that the company holds to achieve its strategic goals. The leader identifies new ideas and can predict their conversion to the market with business results, or reassembles existing elements of reality (processes, organizational systems) and formulates the desired future to which the company is headed.
Ideas and communication
A leader’s communication skills are decisive. It is important for the leader to transform his ideas into images and stories that engage people's motivation. To convince and inspire the people in the company, a leader's communication style must provoke without discourage; ideas must be logical without being mechanical and achievable without being easy. That is, the story of the business vision the leader tells must communicate the positive purpose and contain the suspense of its fulfillment to emotionally engage people.
Leader’s ability to highlight the path the company is heading for, build on the potential of teams when working together, align strategy, performance indicators, reward and promotion systems, are vital to achieving the vision.
Leadership skills and success
Research has shown that leaders' skills can develop if they focus on it and receive support from specialists (trainers, mentors, etc.). Two sets of skills that can be developed at a leader are coaching and a persuasive communication of the vision. Both grow with experience. These two set of skills are updated and modeled with each new team and a situation where the leader is called upon to communicate his business vision.
The same Development Dimensions International study highlighted that the best equipped to be visionary leaders for a company are the directors of the Financial and Marketing/Sales departments, while Production, Logistics and HR are particularly distinguished by complementary support.
Sometimes leaders lose their driving force because they lose their vision for the future of the company. When an organization is in a positive, growing situation in a relatively predictable market, the leader has a relatively easy task. But leaders are not leaders because they navigate this kind of situation, but because they know how to get through with the most difficult moments.
In volatile situations, loaded with emotional and risk tensions, leaders make difficult decisions and manage to keep the whole organization on the right track just because they have a clear vision of this road. Leaders see clearly what is the solution, communicate it coherently to inspire the team, and mobilize people’s confidence, skills and motivation needed to succeed together.