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Creating a Shared Vision For Your Team Increases Engagement
With 35 years of research, Kouzes and Posner have shown in The Leadership Challenge how leaders can practice leadership behaviors (called The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®) to be more successful, improve employee engagement, and increase their organization’s financial performance.
One of the key practice areas effective leaders demonstrate is Inspire a Shared Vision. A shared vision can be defined as an end goal or objective that a leader and his or her team establish and work towards together.
In The Leadership Challenge, Kouzes and Posner tell us that looking into the past is important to help us identify why we care about certain things and understand why making things better in the future is important.
By studying and understanding the past, we are better able to imagine a vision for the future and inspire others to find their roles in creating this future. Inspiring a shared vision helps employees see a deeper meaning in their daily work, instead of feeling as if they are performing routine tasks that don’t contribute to the bigger picture.
Two basic aspects of how leaders can Inspire a Shared Vision:
- Define your vision of future: Achieve clarity around your ideal future so you can better explain it to others
- Bring others along by working toward a shared vision: Understand others’ aspirations for the future and how enlisting in your vision can help them achieve those aspirations
4 Tips to Inspire a Shared Vision
- Schedule time for yourself to think about the past and the present and how both inform the future you hope to see for your organization.
- Ask others about their aspirations and goals for the future and how they fit into the greater organizational picture.
- Show others how a shared vision for the team can help them achieve their long-term aspirations.
- Regularly check in and speak with others about progress toward the team’s vision of the future.
To understand how often and how well you are inspiring a shared vision, it’s also important to reflect regularly.
Questions to ask yourself as you improve on Inspire a Shared Vision:
- Where do I see myself in 10 years?
- How do I talk about my vision for the future?
- What big picture goals do I see for the team’s future?
- Do I show others where they fit in this vision of the future?
- Do I make others part of this shared future?
- Do I think about the future often enough?
Inspiring a Shared Vision requires leaders to be thoughtful visionaries who engage others in creating a shared future. Leaders should practice bringing their teams along, listening to their goals and objectives, and finding the shared goals the team desires to achieve.