Everyone is acting in concert, but who sets the tone?

Leadership as a balance between providing vision and promoting individual responsibility

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Preparing your organization for the future requires the definition of a clear vision for the company. But above all, successful leadership means transmitting this vision to the organization and the individual teams in order to implement and anchor it in the long term. What are the key aspects of leadership to consider in this context? We believe that a new role specification for leaders as “vision translators” is needed.

Good visions build the heart of future-oriented organizations

A clear vision has always been the key element when mobilizing people for change. It is the basis for an organization’s raison d’être, the linchpin in speeches by CxOs, and the driver for motivation of employees. Once the vision – and therefore the ambition – of an organization is developed and clearly formulated, the question of how it can be carried over to the company arises. In this context not only new leadership skills, but above all a mindset change about the meaning of successful leadership come into play.

“Sthira Sukha Asana” or the dance between polarities

Successful leadership is always a dance between polarities: On the one hand, it is important to be able to step back as a leader and to transfer individual responsibility to employees. On the other hand, aspects of authoritarian leadership remain important when it comes to setting the visionary direction.

The “Sthira Sukha Asana” approach from the world of yoga helps to illustrate this necessary balance: The meditation seat, or “asanam,” should be both “sthira” (stable, firm, powerful) and “sukha” (light, pleasant, relaxed). Similarly, the vision translator must take a powerful stance in order to set a clear direction, but also be able to reduce control over employees.

“Not without my team” – The importance of collaborative leadership

The role of leaders as guidance and decision-making bodies through micromanagement of operational activities is no longer valid. Flat hierarchies and fast decision making have become important factors for successful leadership. This means that leaders have to trust in their employees’ ability to make individual decisions. The focus on the “single leader” is fading from the spotlight: It is no longer a question of whether leaders themselves are the best, but how they can make the best out of others – and then successfully match tasks and team members according to their skills.

The focus on collaborative leadership, which emphasizes the importance of each individual in the further development of the organization, is the key to a successful implementation of the corporate vision. The common goal can only be achieved if each employee perceives himself as a contributor to the cause.

“Don’t only spread the word, but the feeling” – Aspects of authoritarian leadership in 2020?

Leaders must continue to provide a clear direction so that their teams may move independently within a predetermined framework. In doing so, aspects of authoritarian leadership will remain relevant beyond 2020.

How can you as a leader show a stable positioning, convince your employees of your vision and arouse a positive feeling for change? Take a look at our ADVICE model.

The vision translator combines …

Authenticity: Be yourself. Credibility, approachability, and acting as a role model are key when translating your vision.

Drive for Change: Show strength for implementation and create group dynamics by lending a hand and driving change as part of the team.

Value-orientation: Create clarity by communicating the added value of your vision for your business, your employees, and society and by appealing to the contribution of each individual.

Inspiration: Tell a clear story that captivates your listeners. Try to illustrate what you can achieve together and sharpen the identity of your team.

Charisma: Act out your individuality and peculiarity. Your way of “being different” will be perceived by your employees as a credible indicator for the realization of change.

Empathy: Always take the perspective of your employees. Understand what’s on your team’s mind in order to motivate, empower, and support your colleagues.

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