One of the most important tasks of any leader, but especially so for a senior leader, is to maintain clarity on the vision–where we’re going, why we’re going there and how we intend to get there. Ron Edmondson shares some keen insights on communicating vision.

Guest Post by Ron Edmondson

One of the greatest challenges I have as a senior leader is to regularly communicating the personal vision I own in my head.

The reality is people on our team – and in our church – want to know what I’m thinking; simply because of the position I hold.

Of course, this is the idea behind vision and mission statements, but those are very broad statements. I am referring to the dreams I am currently dreaming. There are often specific goals and objectives I think we should currently be attempting as an organization.

The importance:

I know I need to share what I’m thinking for people who can’t read my mind.  It is hard for those we lead to get inside our head, but so important if we want to lead well. If we want to earn and keep trust and credibility in our leadership, then we must make sure people understand our broad visions.

In fairness, they are thinking about their own individual responsibilities. Their role may not be to think for the entire organization. That’s usually the role of senior leaders.

What I attempt to do in communicating personal vision:

Sharing my heart for the personal vision I have requires more intentionality in communication. Many leaders assume others are following. It isn’t until people don’t accomplish what the leader hopes they will that they realize the people trying to follow never fully understood what a leader was expecting.

This is always a work in progress for me, and more difficult in a new position, but here are some things I try to to communicate my personal vision as a senior leader:

  • Communicate regularly
  • Keep notes to myself of what needs communicating (and I put these into groups of the people that need to hear it – such as church leadership, staff, church members, etc.)
  • Utilize different communication styles for different listening types
  • Use understandable language – and explain when it is not (I like to draw a lot of diagrams to flesh out my ideas in front of people in “real time”.)
  • Do not assume others know what I am talking about – they may not
  • Speak openly and transparently
  • Allow people the freedom to ask me anything they want
  • Expect there will be more questions after I share and people have time to digest them

And the greatest suggestion I have – Ask lots of questions of others! Make sure people understand what you are saying.