Leader Visibility

This short article provides some great insight for leaders.

We spend a lot of time talking about vision – in our graduate courses, in strategic planning meetings. We spend less time talking about visibility, especially as it relates to vision. Let me explain.

During the initial weeks of my first principalship I learned ¬†quickly the value of being visible – that is, being there, being literally in a position to be seen by people. A leader who is present is able to hold an authentic perspective, because he’s been there in the rooms witnessing first-hand what’s happening with teachers and students. A visible leader brings comfort; the sailors have confidence knowing that the captain not only has hands on the wheel but is right there to address any problems that might surprise the ship. That translates very well with students. Students who come to learn that the principal is around every corner on any given day are safe.

But there’s another, maybe even more important aspect of visibility that involves the leader’s vision. What is it that people see in the leader’s vision – the leader’s beliefs, values, convictions? How visible is the direction the leader is heading? To what degree can we see what is important to the leader, regardless of what we’re told, in what the leader does?

It is here that visibility and vision meet. Perhaps you’ve heard someone say, “I can’t hear what you’re saying because your actions speak so loudly.” That’s especially true of leaders. The things we communicate about our vision and what we value through the interactions we have and the decisions we make are what will stick – not necessarily what we say.

If you’re a leader of any kind – in your office, church, scout troop, wherever – I encourage you to answer the short but not-so-simple questions presented in the article. Look at the vision your answers reflect, and compare that to your desired vision.

Are they the same?

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