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Elements of Visionary Leadership

The Objective is to increase workplace efficiency by controlling elementary problems with workplace education tools. Workplace learning opportunity finds efficient ways to get jobs done.

The Goal - The goal in any task is to get the job done. Leadership style controls efficiency, which controls competitive value of product or service, which determines the winner.

Leadership Innovation – Today, fast growing organizations are built on leadership innovation, that is, they are not built by product visionaries but by social visionaries — those who invent entirely new ways of organizing human effort. Southwest Airlines, Inc. is an example.

Definition of Terms

Visionary Leadership increases efficiency by moving decision-making responsibility to the frontline. Efficiency is achieved with limited supervision. To make frontline responsibility effective, leadership must give workers opportunity to develop decision-making skills and learn to trust them. Wal-Mart stores use visionary leadership.

Standard leadership assumes employees to be robots and do as they are told. This is based on man’s natural instinct that only management is capable of making quality decisions. This is known as command-and-control leadership. Low efficiency is caused by the disconnect between management and the frontline. Management is busy dealing with problems that affect them while ignoring problems that affect the frontline. Front line problems are only dealt with when they explode into a major problem. K-Mart stores use standard leadership.

Workplace learning opportunity creates a workforce of decision makers. Employees at all levels have the opportunity to discover and develop their unique skills, thereby, inspiring them to become quality decision-makers. The key word is “opportunity.” Not everyone will embrace this opportunity, but the few that do will inspire others with positive attitudes. This can only be achieved with visionary leadership.

Primary Elements

Leadership structure controls decision-making responsibility. Visionary leadership allows responsibility all the way down to the frontline. Standard leadership limits decision making to management.

Priorities – Organization priorities control leadership style.

Policies - Leadership style is controlled by workplace policies. Leaders will adapt their style to the organization priorities and its goals.

Elementary problems - Leadership style controls the level of elementary problems, which controls workplace efficiency. Level of elementary problems is controlled, in part, by learning opportunities and leader’s personal priority.

Learning opportunity - Quality of worker decisions is controlled by workplace learning opportunities.

Achievers – Everyone wants to be an achiever in and out of the workplace. With workplace ambitions, leadership promotes or kills this desire.

Natural talent - Leadership style controls the ability to recognize natural talent. No one knows what their true capabilities are until they are given opportunity and responsibility.

Skill level – The ability and desire to share knowledge with coworkers influences the continuing education level of the workforce, thereby, increasing skill level and the value of their services. Workplace education is dead for people who only follow orders.

Technology – Today’s technology is reducing the time it takes to get jobs done. Workplace learning opportunity is the only way to stay on technology’s leading edge. Visionary leadership, not standard, is the only way for the organization to be a leader in its field.

Getting the job done – Projects only have value when the job is completed, until then, it is garbage. Competitive value depends on the efficiency of getting the job done, which is based on keeping elementary problems to a minimum. Efficiency is also a byproduct of employees’ attitude towards their job. Leadership, opportunity and responsibility influence attitude.

Elements to Consider

Ethical policies – Ethical policies at the organization’s top filter down to the frontline. It is not possible to have unethical policies at the top and enforce ethical policies at the bottom. Leaders’ ethical policies become the mindset of the organization. A person with high ethical standards will not stay long in an organization with low ethical standards, they will quit or be fired. A potential whistle blower becomes a threat, yet, this type of person makes an organization efficient. Success of workplace responsibility requires high ethical policies from top to bottom.

Exception to the rule - The military uses command-and-control leadership, yet the troops are highly skilled, motivated and morale is high. This is opposite the statements stated above. The difference - military organizations are team orientated with continuous training. Troops expanding their skills and experiencing capabilities they never dreamed possible, produces a highly motivated and efficient organization. Learning opportunity and responsibility is the key.

Hiring a visionary leader – Very often, an organization realizes it needs to upgrade its leadership. Management can recognize quality in an applicant, but they do not know how to manage them, should they be hired. The first thing current leadership does is tell new leadership how to manage, using their policies. They are in the habit of giving orders and expect them to do as they say while getting desired results. Current leadership does not want to change, they want the new leader to change subordinates attitudes. Attitudes are reflections of leadership. If leadership wants subordinates to change their attitudes, current leaders must first change their attitudes and develop quality leadership skills. Then they can adapt and benefit from the experiences of visionary leadership.

Self-education – Man has the ability to educate himself without instructors – commonly known as self-education. Employees, of organizations that stay on the leading edge of technology, know how to educate themselves. This is the only way to adapt new technology as it comes on the market. The education system waits for market demand before it is offered in classrooms. Organizations that wait for classroom instruction are on the trailing edge of technology.

Resources - Efficiency is as effective as available resources—tools, supplies, work environment—to complete tasks. Employees will work hard to get jobs done, but they need quality resources to be efficient. Resources influence pride, which affects efficiency.

Self-fulfilling prophecy - If leaders want to control workers, they will lead in such a way that self-fulfilling prophecy will condition workers to do nothing unless closely supervised. If leaders want workers to assume responsibility, they must lead in such a way that self-fulfilling prophecy will condition workers to assume responsibility. Employee turnover sorts personalities, attracting people who fit the leader’s image and rejecting those who do not, thus fulfilling the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Social prejudice believes other people are less capable than we are. If we are managers and we think other people are less capable, then we will establish a management policy that reflects that belief. Through employee turnover and self-fulfilling prophecy, our opinion will be proven right.

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