The Seven Qualities of Visionary Leaders

Vision always centers on people never projects, programs, properties, or profits.

Vision focused on anything other than people is ego driven exploitation.


Vision answers the question, “How will we make the world better for others?”

“Vision makes work meaningful.” Jesse Stoner

Vision always drives and directs change-makers but never executes or operationalizes anything. Vision points!

“Being forward-looking is the quality that most separates leaders from individual contributors.” Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner in the Leadership Challenge.


  1. Creates vitality.
  2. Focuses energy.
  3. Explains purpose.

The clearer the vision the greater the vitality.

Apart from clear vision:

  1. Distraction directs.
  2. Desperation disrupts.
  3. Despair discourages.


Vision feels like hope.

Hope creates and energizes vision. Separated from hope, vision is futility. Leaders without hope are lost, along with everyone who follows them.

The chapter on vision in Brad Lomenick’s new book, “The Catalyst Leader,” is titled, “Hopeful.” He explains what vision feels like and does, rather than offering safe definitions. (Brad’s book is the first Christian leadership book I’ve recommended on Leadership Freak.)

Seven qualities of visionary leaders:

Over the years, Brad has spent quality time with the world’s top leaders. He writes, “I’ve observed that the most hopeful, vision-centered leaders are:

  1. Optimistic about the future.
  2. Focused on the best in their people. They focus on the unique strengths of every employee.
  3. Never satisfied but always content. They seem happy where they are but refuse to stay there.
  4. Consumed with making tomorrow better than today. Hopeful leaders never settle.
  5. Accepting of change.
  6. Inclusive, not exclusive. Hopeful leaders invite others into their vision.
  7. Personally bought in. Vision is inside them.”


Projects, programs, properties, or profits are about goals. Goals express vision. But vision itself is always about people not deliverables.

What are the essential qualities of leaders who inspire hope?

What are the essential qualities of compelling vision?

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