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When to Paint a Vision and When to Tell it Like it Is

As a great leader, and frankly a great human being, one must know their audience. What do they need, what do they want, how are they motivated or demotivated – and how does that align with what you need and want?

Understanding the answers to those questions will enable successful communication, collaboration, and greatness.

Knowing the answers to those questions will also help to ensure an appropriate balance of vision and dictation. And I get that dictation is a strong word and one that we all shy away from as leaders. But sometimes it is important to just tell it like it is to make sure that what needs to happen, happens.

So how do you know when to paint a vision and let the team dream, create, envision, ideate – and when to dictate the task at hand and just get it done?

The answer is not simple this time. How much time do you have? How much flexibility is there in the process? Or in the result? How motivated is your team? How confusing is the task at hand? How clear is the need? Or the end result?

And while that could lead you in many directions, the answer is that knowing when to be visionary vs dictatorial is truly a blend between knowing your audience and knowing what has to be done. And that is sometimes more art than science. And sometimes more intuition than fact. And sometimes just heartfelt, honest discussion and consideration to know.

So when you’re faced with your next task to get in front of your team, consider the audience and the need – and go with your gut to lead the way.

Thank you Tara Charvat for the inspiration.

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