The real question is this: Are you really a forward-thinking leader, or do you just think you are?
We all know that one of the key traits any lead needs is the ability to be a forward thinker. Leaders are the people that are supposed to be able to go ahead and plan, construct strategies that allow them to bring their team and business on a journey to somewhere beyond the here and know. The most innovative companies all have one very specific thing in common. At the helm of their ship was a forward-thinking leader that could take people with them.
The disturbing reality is that many leaders fail at being at being a forward-thinker, and that failure normally manifests itself in two very specific ways.
1. Lack of Communication
Communication is key in every aspect of leadership, especially when it comes to being a forward-thinking leader. We spend so much time talking about current goals, deadlines, and milestones, reviewing past and present analysis and figures, that talking about the future struggles to enter our day. We talk about these things 100 times more frequently than we do about the future. Your time would be far more valuable spent talking with your team about where the company is going, how can it get there, and what it means if you do get there. This kind of communication keeps the bigger picture in focus, and not only helps you keep your mind on the future but brings your team with you.
The take away: We over talk about today and don’t talk nearly half as much about the future as we should.
2. Uninspiring Vision
I’m going to be honest, facts, numbers, and statistics are great, but when it comes to communicating the future with your team or organisation, these alone just won’t cut it. The stats may put some people’s minds at rest, but they certainly aren’t getting anyone’s heart racing, and that’s exactly what a forward-thinking leader should be doing. Capturing the hearts and minds of your team and giving them an inspirational view of the future. Now don’t get me wrong, the facts and figures are needed, but in quality, not quantity! Using the numbers approach simply makes people less engaged and switches them off to the reality of the vision.
The take away: Capture hearts with vision and inspiration, use facts and figures in quality, not quantity.
How to Become a Forward-Thinking Leader and Engage Your Team In the Future
It all comes down to passion, if you are truly passionate and bought into what you do and why you do it, then share it! Communicate from the heart, and constantly connect the short-term goals of today and tomorrow to the future “bigger picture”. By communicating your vision and passion for the future of the company you will ignite inspiration in your motivated employees and help others see and understand that you truly are a forward-thinking leader.