Who’s vision is it anyway?

As leaders, we hear a lot about vision.  Not the kind that Lenscrafters can help with, but that kind of forward thinking, forward seeing strategic concept that drives a company to new heights.  However, I think this is only part of the picture, and as a quote shared by my friend and colleague Val Paralitici states, it’s as much (if not more) about finding the vision within your employees.

“Leadership has nothing to do with blindly driving your own vision onto those you lead, it has to do with discovering that vision inside every person and helping them in their path towards achieving it.” H. Landolfi

I think this quote identifies two types of leaders… those who can let go, and those who can’t.

In the past, I have written about Dave and Nancy Tkachuk, who I worked with for a short period of time between theme park jobs, and how they reacted when I told them I would be leaving their company.  You can read about that here.

Dave and Nancy really understood that if I wasn’t happy trying to achieve their vision, it would be better in the long run for me to leave to pursue my own path.  They were supportive, generous and kind.

On the other hand, we have probably all known leaders who were so afraid of losing their top talent that they did whatever they could to keep them on board, whether it was good for the employee or not.  They tried to manipulate, control and just hold on too tight.  Ironically, this usually leads to frustration from the employee, and they end up quitting (sometimes bitterly) anyway.

If you can let go, you encourage development and exploration.

If you can’t let go, you encourage blinders and closed-mindedness.

If you can let go, value your own opportunities for growth.

If you can’t let go, you are likely afraid of your opportunities to fail.

Where do you fall?  If you are someone who can let go, how do you help your employees find their own vision?

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