I’ve been asked to speak on visionary leadership. I’m still deciding if I have anything cogent to say on this topic.
The term “visionary leader” is tossed out like so much corporate slang today. But is it an accurate representation of the sentiment hoped to be communicated?
The encyclopedia defines leadership as an individual’s capacity to motivate others to seek the same objective. Well that’s a bit short sighted. Using this as a strict term, Hitler would be classified a leader. As would Satan. Not my perception of what the word leader should conjure up.
Lets try visionary. The dictionary defines visionary as one who is given to impractical or speculative ideas; a dreamer. Not much better.
What is being communicated when we speak of visionary leaders? Certainly not impractical dreamers, Svengali’s leading others to senseless ends.
Perhaps we can find a better term, based on our longed for attributes in leadership, those characteristics that are valuable and inherently humanistic.
I’ll start us off: West Point Academy writes that they build “Honorable Leaders”. The dictionary defines honorable as adhering to ethical and moral principles.
I like that.
Truth, purity, unselfishness – wherever these are present, there is no power below or above the sun to crush the possessor thereof. Equipped with these, one individual is able to face the whole universe in opposition.’ Swami Vivekananda