A few questions for you: When you think about a leader, what are the qualities you’d like to see in yours? What kind of qualities do you want to have as a leader? Most people answer with the word integrity, said Senior Pastor and North Point Ministries Founder Andy Stanley at Leadercast last month in Duluth, Georgia. “Integrity, honesty, trustworthy, someone who keeps their promises,” said Stanley.
But whom do we actually end up following? “The person who has clarity,” Stanley corrected. “Sure, we value integrity, but we follow clarity.” To drive this point home, Stanley illustrated it using the current political spectrum. “The two people who rate the lowest in integrity and trust are our presumptive nominees,” he explained.
Why is that the case? “People forgive mistakes [of leaders] who are clear,” said Stanley. “Clarity covers a multitude of other sins, and we vote for the candidate who is the clearest about the things and values we hold dearest.”
So, that begs another question: How can you be a leader who is both trustworthy and clear? Stanley said the answer lies in building a compelling vision your followers can hold on to, and then reinforcing that vision through your actions.
Let’s start by creating that vision for your team. Stanley defined a vision as “a mental picture of what could be, fueled by conviction of what should be.” Don’t be afraid to think big about this. What problem are you solving? What solution are you offering? Don’t get into how you’ll solve it in your vision statement. It should be simple. “Paragraphs and complex sentences do not stick with people,” said Stanley. “Memorable is portable.”
Make sure the statement gives the “why” behind your solution. Yes, explain the problem, but perhaps most importantly, explain why you are inspired to solve it. “There is a bigger ‘why’ that has the potential to tap the hearts of the people who work for you, with you, and around you,” said Stanley.
After you’ve established the vision, make sure your people know it. “Repeat it regularly,” encouraged Stanley. “Vision leaks; it doesn’t stick. So it has to be conversational.”
Lastly, make sure your team knows you appreciate their enthusiasm for the vision. Stanley encourages leaders to celebrate the vision systematically among your team. “What’s rewarded is repeated,” he said. Besides, “a paycheck rarely engages the heart; a vision engages the heart.”
Photo credit: Leadercast