No Vision. No Leadership

At a leadership workshop I attended the facilitator asked which was the most important quality of a great leader. Hands went up and almost everyone in the room had something to say. I raised my hand and said, “Passion.”

I used to believe that passion was the key quality in a leader. But since that workshop, I have come to learn that vision is actually more important than passion. A passionate leader can rally employees for a while. But visionary leaders inspire employees to imagine a better version of the organization and of themselves and to work towards it.

While passionate leaders can inspire others, passion alone cannot sustain that inspiration for very long. Herminia Ibarra – whose controversial paper looks at men vs. women in leadership roles – summarized well my point regarding the main quality of a leader: “No vision, no leadership.”

In an ideal world all leaders would be passionate visionaries whose energy and ideas are seamlessly transferred to employees. But if I had to choose between passion and vision, I say the latter.

Having said that, Dancing Guy for sure has passion.