For the longest time, companies have struggled to unite employees around the idea of the 'organisation'. They have instead tried to rely on a sense of shared responsibility but have often battled with low employee motivation and commitment, as well as fragmented teams. These phenomena were further exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic and made worse still by the outbreak of war in Ukraine and rising inflation. In response to this, more and more companies are choosing to develop their businesses around a strong organisational culture, where vision, mission and values are core elements. To counter employees' poor sense of identification with the company, leaders are focusing more on aligning employee and organisational goals and managing staff based on company values.
Mission, vision and values are not just slogans
Vision, mission statements and values have traditionally been viewed on little more than slogans that hang on the wall. People mention them to pay lip service to company identity but rarely take seriously the ideas that define the company and that make it unique in the market. After all, profit has always been the most important factor, the overriding goal. While it’s correct that profit is extremely important, we can choose to pursue those profits in a different way than before.
Having a company mission statement but without a plan to implement concrete actions and practices to achieve the mission is simply a hallucination. It contributes nothing or at best changes very little.
Visionary Leadership 2.0
Visionary Leadership is an approach that focuses on creating company visions and goals that transcend the status quo. Visionary leaders pursue higher goals that exceed the needs and objectives of the organisations they lead. Their vision is crucial in motivating employees to achieve goals and contribute to the company’s growth. However, this can only be achieved if the company takes concrete actions to incorporate their vision into business strategy at all levels of the organisation.
The role of values, mission and vision in visionary leadership
Values, mission and vision are central to visionary leadership. An organisation’s values provide the foundation on which the vision and goals are based. An organisation’s mission defines how and what a company wants to achieve. Their vision defines what the organisation wants to look like in the future and the change it is making in the world. Visionary leaders use values, mission and vision as primary tools to motivate employees and achieve goals. They work through communicative coaching processes that link employees’ goals and values to the organisation’s values and vision. Often these processes are associate development systems that seek to embed core values at all levels. This in turn can translate realistically into profits and growth for the organisation.
Creating an organisational culture that supports visionary leadership
Values, mission and vision are also core components of an organisation’s culture. This culture is the key element for achieving success through visionary leadership. How we communicate within the company and delegate responsibilities speak volumes about us as a community. How we serve our customers and the symbols we use tells the world about who we are and what is important to us. Our company culture sets us apart from the competition.
Creating an organisational culture that supports visionary leadership requires engagement from all levels within the organisation. Leaders should act as role models for others and demonstrate how company values, mission and vision are important in achieving goals. Employees should feel that their input is valued and that they are integral to creating the company’s vision and goals.
The impact of visionary leadership on employee engagement and productivity
Research conducted by Avolio and colleagues (2004) supports the assertion that visionary leadership has a positive impact on employee engagement and productivity. The research showed that visionary leadership correlates positively with employee engagement levels.
Another piece of evidence supporting this thesis is a study by Sosik and Godshalk (2000). This study, conducted on a sample of employees across different industries also concluded that visionary leadership and employee productivity are closely linked. Managers with both vision and the ability to effectively communicate their ideas had employees who were more engaged and productive.
In other words, visionary leadership, which encapsulates a clear and inspiring vision for the organisation’s future, has a strong and lasting impact on employee engagement levels.
Employees who feel that their input is valued are more committed to their work. They feel that they are part of the process of formulating the organisation’s vision and goals. Teams and individuals who have clearly defined goals are geared to focus on activities that contribute to the organisation’s goals. In addition, visionary leaders create an environment that encourages the organisation’s goals to be realised through the focused efforts of their employees. This in turn helps employees to further develop their skills and abilities.
Examples of successful visionary leaders
Examples of successful visionary leaders include Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. Steve Jobs created products that changed the way people use technology. Jeff Bezos created Amazon, which became one of the largest online stores in the world. Both leaders had very clear vision and specific goals that contributed to the success of their organisations.
The role of visionary leadership in achieving organisational success
Visionary leaders aim to go beyond the status quo and develop vision and goals that contribute to organisational growth. Visionary leadership requires the input and cooperation of employees at all levels; it cannot be dictated from above. The culture of an organisation is crucial to achieving success through visionary leadership. It must be consistent with the organisation’s values, mission and vision to ensure it is embedded consistently in employee actions.
Clearly defined goals along with a system of implementing the vision, mission and values of the leaders are essential. But these goals will come to nothing unless they are closely aligned with the values and goals of the employees tasked with delivering desired results.