Vision helps the leader define reality, and prepare ahead for an eventuality down the road. Vision enables the leader to see opportunities and potential where others don’t see it and to defend and protect the mission of an organisation when it may be going off track. Vision is a critical skill for any leader to foster and develop.
As a Christian Leader who has worked in various settings and teams, it strikes me that when things go wrong with vision it is usually not that the physical vision of what is seen (the external landscape) shifted wildly. The problem is that the leader or team has had blind spots or blurry-ness to their vision. There is a divergence between what the leader thinks they see or wants to see, and reality.
The issue is vision, and problem is not what is out there to be seen. The problem, rather, is in how what is out there is being taken in, identified and interpreted. It is not about the external environment (the landscape), but the internal mechanism (the eye). I believe the leader has a key responsibility to do internal vision work so that they are externally effective at working with reality.
In the context of long teaching on the importance of character and integrity, Jesus says this:
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" Matthew 6:22-23
The word for ‘healthy’ in Jesus description means: simple, single, good or generous.
The Christian leader has a pastoral responsibility to themselves so that they can see clearly the reality before them and act in a single minded way towards the community they serve. If they don’t see clearly with a pure, healthy, eye then the blind spots and limitations of their sight will be experienced negatively by the group they are leading.
What are the things that block clear vision?
These could include past traumatic experiences that limit one’s freedom of thought, unrealistic expectations on oneself or others, pride or arrogance, fantasy thinking, impatience or general immaturity.
It is important for the leader to always be working on our sense of vision and general self awareness because when people experience the leader, they experience all of the leader, not just the virtuous parts. The leader needs to know their impact. And a leader who engages in their own inner-work is far less susceptible to the more unhealthy or damaging experiences that come their way. All the destructive things that get thrown in the leaders direction lose their stickiness when the leader is clear on who they are and on what they are doing.
How does the leader correct their vision to see reality clearly? I offer a few tools in the post on self-awareness.
-Ron Bushyager- http://www.fftherapy.co.uk/