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Sharing Your Vision

Having a vision without being able to share it defeats the purpose. The last post was about having it, this one is about effectively communicating your vision to those who need to know.

When dealing with multiple echelons, the techniques must be diverse. I will talk about direct communication to your closest subordinates in this blog. This includes your first line subordinates who you routinely interact with as they must understand what you say, see actions that align with your words, have your words and actions reinforced over time as well as prove they are incorporating your vision in their actions. Each of the noted aspects must be deliberately worked and assessed because if you cannot effectively convince your first line leaders then they will be challenged to further carry your message to their direct reports (i.e. the next echelon).

I will expand on each of the four areas mentioned above before writing on "next echelon" sharing (next blog post).

The Must Understand What You Say: It is often too easy to simply speak something and have everyone pick-up what you put down. Assuming you have more than one subordinate, you must tailor your communication techniques to each. And not everyone listens, comprehends, can visualize or internalize guidance in one way or one sitting. Therefore, you must consider how to do group discussions, including the ratio of general to the group vice specific to an individual in making points. Also, gauging best ways to graphically depict expectations and then figuring out email message management. All will affect how subordinates interpret what you tell them. And that interpretation dictates if your vision for longer term goals is being received or not.

They Must See Actions That Align: For many leaders "do as I say, not as I do" is too often a reality. This creates confusion or precludes buy-in. If you are uncomfortable with doing what you demand of others, then either relent on demanding it, tell them about your struggle/conflict or do not put such emphasis on that particular area. This demands self-awareness and active listening to what your subordinates say. I believe this has a negative impact when you are seeking to instill something but you lack the desire/ability to do it yourself. If you continually tell your subordinates to act and perform in certain ways, but often contradict that verbal guidance, then what are your employees suppose to believe?

You Must Reinforce Your Words and Actions: Not only should what you say align with what you do, but it should be done consistently. Reinforcement means be cognizant of your guidance and expectations so that when you are similarly positioned you follow the expectations you set for your subordinates. This applies to your demand of subordinates and the latitude you give them. The challenge is perceived inconsistencies that contradict vice reinforce what you say. Or, actions that create confusion on "the standard." An example is criticizing a subordinate for taking initiative vice teaching them better ways to apply that initiative. If you are seeking empowered, independent but nested subordinates, then you have to handled applicable situations that supports that end.

Do They Incorporate Your Vision: You have to actively assess if what you are seeking to achieve or implement is taking hold. Are your employees doing things differently or do you see indications that they are factoring aspects of your vision over time?

All of the above are ways you share your vision and gauge if it is being received. If you are invested in seeing a vision realized over time, equal energy must be applied after you craft your aspiration if you want to see it eventually come to fruition.

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