Leadership – The Law of the Picture
The law of the picture says that people do what people see. When leaders show the way with the right actions, their followers copy them and succeed.
Great leaders always seem to embody two seemingly disparate qualities. They are both highly visionary and highly practical. Their vision enables them to see beyond the immediate. They can envision what’s coming and what must be done. Leaders possess an understanding of how:
Mission provides purpose-answering the question, Why?
Vision provides a picture-answering the question, What?
Strategy provides a plan-answering the question, How?
Leaders are practical enough to know that vision without action achieves nothing. They make themselves responsible for helping their followers to take action. That can be difficult because followers often cannot envision the future as the leader does. They can’t picture what’s best for the team. They lost track of the big picture. Why? Because vision has a tendency to leak.
Leaders are stewards of the vision. What should they do to bridge the vision gap between them and their followers? The temptation for many leaders is to merely communicate about the vision. Communication is certainly important. Good leaders must communicate the vision clearly, creatively, and continually. The leaders’ effective communication of the vision makes the picture come alive.
Good leaders are always conscious of the fact that they are setting the example and others are going to do what they do, for better or worse. In general, the better the leaders’ actions, the better their people’s.
The leaders who make the greatest impact are often those who lead well in the midst of uncertainty. Andy Stanley, an excellent leader and communicator, has addressed this issue. A few years ago at the Catalyst conference for leaders, he said the following:
Uncertainty is not an indication of poor leadership. Rather it indicates a need for leadership. The nature of leadership demands that there always be an element of uncertainty. Increased responsibility means dealing with more and more intangibles and therefore more complex uncertainty.