Have you ever accepted a job, registered for a class, or agreed to an assignment not knowing the vision or purpose? Would you agree that having a common understanding of the overall goal and vision of something would enable you to perform better at the specific task? I think it can be common for people to say yes to an assignment, or job not fully understanding the vision. Whether it is the vision of a teacher for a course, a boss at our job, or the leader of a group of people for a project, it is important to know. How great would it be if we always received a list of expectations, or a detailed outline of what was required of us?
An important part of being a leader is having the ability to inspire a shared vision with those around you. Great things occur when people come together and have the same understanding of the vision. Sharing a vision allows people to (1) imagine the possibilities and (2) find common purpose. Even when we don’t realize it, each of us spend time thinking about the possibilities in our communities, our schools, our jobs and within our groups of friends. We want what is best for each other and when we imagine the possibilities, we are feeding the healthy desire to see our sphere of influence grow.
“Human beings are the only animals that thinks about the future.” Professor of Psychology at Harvard
Even without a leadership title, we are all leaders. When I was in college at the University of North Florida, obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree, I never thought I was a leader. Even when I moved on to the University of Phoenix obtaining my MBA, I still did not see myself as a leader. Sure, I was outspoken, I had an opinion, but I didn’t think I had the attributes to be a leader. I doubted almost everything about myself.
No way could I ever get people on board with my ways of thinking. Never could I lead a group of students, some who were older than me to complete a team project. I considered myself to be an individual contributor; meaning, I worked best alone and not on a team of people. In my mind, people slowed me down, I did not need to LEAD, I just wanted to DO.
Man, did I have the concept of being a leader wrong. Little did I know that good leaders recognize their need for people. Leaders are dreamers, idealists and possibility thinkers. Who is a leader going to dream with, play out possibilities with, if it’s not people? Just as Moses led the people out of Egypt in the book of Exodus, so must a leader lead people to their full potential. If Moses did not have a vision for the future of the people, they would not have been very confident in following him into the Red Sea. Think of our own comfort when we are in class, at work, or on a team project and the leader doesn’t seem to have a bigger picture in mind. This can cause confusion and ultimately cause people to jump ship.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
I want to encourage everyone, even if you don’t think you are a leader (you are) to do these things:
- Reflect on our past (don’t stay there)
- Attend to the present
- Prospect the future
Related Post: 3 i’s of Leadership
Share Your Vision with Others
Envision your future, write down your goals, review them often and allow them to serve as reminders. We are our own worst critic. But when we reflect on our past, we are reminded of lessons learned. When we attend to our present, we are actively engaged in what is happening in our current environment. Prospecting the future allows us to be those dreamers and possibility thinkers that I spoke of earlier. This creates a passion and a drive deep within ourselves.
Sometimes we go into situations believing we know what is best and how things should look. Sharing your vision with others will allow people to feel engaged. Especially if they are part of your team, or in your circle of friends. Our teams have valuable insight into things we don’t even think about. Having someone give an outside in perspective can have a huge impact on results. When we open up and share our vision with others, we foster an environment where people commit to causes not plans.
How often do you complete tasks, or assignments just because it was given to you? Think about the times when you felt connected to the bigger picture and looked forward to contributing to the team. When I understand the role I have and how my role connects to the vision and the bigger picture, I feel more valued. The most successful strategies are visions.
“Calculated strategies have no value in and of themselves…strategies take on value only as committed people infuse them with energy.” McGill University Professor
Have you wondered what God has planned for your life, or what His vision is over you? Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an outline that showed us how to live a God-first life? How great would it be if we knew the greatness He had in store for us? The future holds uncertainty for all of us, even the disciples were unsure. What I find peace in is knowing that God shares His vision with us through scripture. The teachings in the bible can inspire us in our personal and professional lives.