The Best Leaders Give Their Vision Away

by Ron Edmondson

One of the keys to a successful organization is also one of the riskiest things for a leader to do.  Leaders, if you want your organization to thrive, you have to be willing to give your vision away to those you lead.

Leaders talk a lot about the importance of sticking with a vision. We know we have to repeat a vision often. The vision is referred to for its value to an organization.  Without a vision, the people perish. Right?

I agree with all the truths about vision.  I am actually referring to another principle though that leaders sometimes overlook.  The best leaders allow others to own the vision besides them.  Actually they encourage it. They give their vision away.   The key is in surrounding yourself with people you trust enough to take your vision and implement it with their own personal touch.

When we planted our church I had a vision. It was actually a ten-year old vision.  It was a specific vision, but it was broad.   I felt God wanted to have a church that reached people where they were, not with rules to perform to for approval, but with unconditional love and grace.  I recruited a co-pastor who shared that vision.  I recruited a core team who could own that vision as their own.  My co-pastor and I recruited a worship leader who believed the vision.  Then step-by-step we began to give away our vision.

Taking the existing vision, which has never changed, we had core members who researched and shaped our children’s ministry.  Others started our greeting ministry.  Still other formed the structure of our preschool.  In this process they developed these ministries with their own individual perspectives and desires.  The ministries, while accomplishing the overall vision for the church, may or may not have looked like I would have personally planned them.  In the end, however, they were far better than I could have ever produced on my own.

Leaders often operate out of fear and hold too tightly to their vision, afraid others will ruin their “dream”, but this never allows people to develop, stifles growth, and doesn’t allow the body (or the organization) to perform at its best.  Ultimately it keeps the leader’s vision from achieving maximum potential.  My encouragement to these leaders would be to hire people you trust enough to own your vision and place their own personal touch on it.  Your organization will be the benefactor of this approach.

To whom do you need to give ownership of your vision in order that your organization may see its best growth?

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