In last week’s post we looked at how great leaders are distinguished from others by their ability to listen deeply and empathetically. In this week’s post, we continue to build on communication skills by examining how great leaders communicate their vision.
In order to be able to communicate our vision, we must have it in the first place. So the obvious question is, how do we go about developing and finding our vision. We briefly discussed this in the first post of the leadership series ‘Good leaders are deeply connected to themselves‘. Connecting to your values and who you really are, helps bring clarity in our purpose in life. This happens automatically and no effort is needed. It’s similar to old radios where, when the dial is tuned in to the correct channel, the noise recedes and the channel is latched onto. Connecting to ourselves helps us drop the unnecessary things in our lives and our careers and helps us stay focussed on what matters, where we want to go and where we intend to take the business forward. Without connecting to what motivates us truly, there is simply no way we can know where we have to go. We would only be reacting and getting influenced by where other people are going or where we think the dominant trend is. Be with yourself. Identify your vision. And then act upon it. It isn’t that visions should not change. They can and perhaps should, reflecting the fast changing world around us. But it is important that it resonates with who we are, our deepest yearnings, what moves our soul.
Once we have a sense of our vision, articulating it becomes effortless. We struggle to articulate what is not ours. Think of communicating the joy that your sister felt as she climbed up to the Everest base camp. Now think of the sense of joy and enthusiasm you can communicate when this trek was yours. When we ourselves are inspired, we inspire others. We cannot attend a boot camp on “How to win friends and influence people’ and walk out with the power to influence. No! Any communication that aims to inspire should be grounded in self-inspiration. People can sense truth.
Why is it important to communicate one’s vision? To inspire people. If you want your team to go with you – you can do the classic ‘carrot’ or ‘stick’ approach. The carrot leads to greed and when your team finds tastier carrots – they will jump. The stick leads to fear. When they find places without sticks, they will leave you. The third way is the noble way. Inspire. Tell them why you believe in what you do. Tell them why you are here. Tell them what makes you come in to work everyday. This cannot be fake. You must embody this as a living truth. If you find yourself faking it – please reconsider what you do.
Humans love narratives. We yearn for something much larger than ourselves. We yearn for purpose. Great leaders help people connect with the sense of purpose within themselves, by rubbing off the energy that they feel in themselves by being aligned with their purpose.
So, we can do three things to improve our vision communicating skills:
- Identify your vision by connecting to who you are
- Speak and act out your vision clearly with great purpose
- Inspire people by making them connect to a sense of purpose within themselves.
Do try it and let me know.