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Leading with purpose: Why vision is essential for great leadership

A key attribute that sets truly great leaders apart is their ability to lead with purpose, driven by a clear and compelling vision for their organisation, team, or community. Visionary leaders invest the time to create and communicate a forward-looking, shared meaning. They can foresee and work towards the future, whilst focusing on the present.

What is the definition of a vision?

A vision is a clear, compelling, and inspiring picture of a desirable future state. It's a mental image that guides and motivates people to take action and work towards a shared goal. It lives in the future, set in motion towards a goal, growth or success. It represents who you are as a leader and what you stand for.

A vision should be specific enough to provide direction but broad enough to allow for flexibility and innovation. It should also align with the organisation's mission and values and reflect the needs and aspirations of its stakeholders. As research shows, a vision is not a fixed concept, it is dynamic and subject to change, so if you realise that your previous strategies are no longer effective, you should be able to develop an alternative vision, that provides a strategic and motivational focus for the team.

So, why is vision essential for great leaders?

1. Provides clarity and direction

A clear and compelling vision provides a sense of purpose and direction for the leader and their team. It helps them to focus their efforts, prioritise tasks, and make decisions that align with their goals. A vision acts as a north star, guiding the leader and their team towards a shared future, even in times of uncertainty or change.

2. Motivates and inspires

A strong vision can be a powerful source of motivation and inspiration for the leader and their team as it gives them something to work towards and a sense of meaning and fulfilment in their work. A vision that resonates with people's values and aspirations can also foster a sense of pride, ownership, and commitment to the organisation's goals.

3. Fosters innovation and creativity

A vision that is broad and flexible can encourage innovation and creativity within the organisation. It allows the leader and their team to think outside the box, experiments with new ideas and approaches, and take calculated risks to achieve their goals. A clear and compelling vision can also attract talented and like-minded people who share the leader's passion and vision, further fueling innovation and creativity.

4. Builds trust and credibility

A leader with a clear and compelling vision can build trust and credibility with their stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and partners. A vision that is authentic, inspiring, and aligned with the organisation's values can create a sense of trust and loyalty among others, who are more likely to support the leader and their goals.

5. Enables strategic planning and execution

A vision serves as a foundation for strategic planning and execution. It provides a framework for setting goals, defining strategies, allocating resources, and monitoring progress. A clear and compelling vision can help the leader and their team to stay focused on their long-term objectives while adapting to changing circumstances and opportunities.

Without a vision, leaders may struggle to achieve their goals or make a meaningful impact. At Acumen, we pride ourselves in offering training and development that gives managers practical tools to help solve real-life challenges. We offer an extensive menu of courses, workshops, and coaching programmes, ranging from communication skills to executive leadership development. In most cases, we design the interventions specifically for each client, but we also offer a wide range of off-the-shelf programmes for those who prefer this approach. For more information about our programmes please contact Simon at


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