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6 Steps to Become a Visionary Leader

While great leaders are truly great, visionary leaders are the ones whose reputation precedes them. Their ideas are almost always challenged, their decisions are questioned, but they make the world just a little bit better with every idea. While it might sound like a tall order, it’s something anyone with a truly beneficial idea can be.

“The more we can break the rules, the better off we’re going to be.” Indra Nooyi, former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, and a visionary leader. She was ranked number 13 on the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2014, 2nd most powerful woman on the Fortune list in 2015, and 2nd most powerful woman on the Forbes list of The 19 Most Powerful Women in Business, among others.

It’s true that anyone can become a visionary leader. Here’s how;

Be the industry expert

To be able to be visionary, you need to know and understand your industry’s ins and outs. Spend time learning the goings on of the industry, the nuances, and the dos and don’ts. It’s important to also recognize the upcoming talent that’s making waves in the industry just as much as the bigger more known and experienced mainstays. It’s also important to study the progress and path of the industry itself. Only if you know the industry can you guide your company in the right direction.

Keep visiting fresh perspectives

It’s easy to see the world from your perspective. It’s easier to get stuck in that perspective. That’s why it’s important to keep an open mind and broaden your perspectives. Whether it is about your company, your industry, or a certain project, revisit and view it from different perspectives to be able to understand it completely. It could be an outsider’s perspective, a consumer’s, a competitor’s, or even another industry in a similar situation in another country. This will help you stay relevant and make decisions that will be beneficial because it makes you question everything you would otherwise take as the status quo.

Create alternate realities

A good way to calculate something considering every outcome possible is to regularly do mental exercises and try and imagine different realities and situations and figure out your move in each one. Creating different realities, allows you to think of multiple options and ways in which you can act on a particular situation. Having multiple solutions makes it easier for you to solve problems and not panic in a challenging situation. It helps you keep calm and make informed thought-out decisions because you already thought through it beforehand.


Take risks

Being a visionary leader doesn’t come by playing it safe. Taking risks comes with the title. Doing what is safe will put you on the same path as everyone else. Only if you take risks that others are not taking will you achieve something that others aren’t achieving. But taking blind risks can be devastating to you and your company. Risks need to be studied and researched well before implementation.


Being a visionary leader means almost everyone will be against your opinion. Most people will doubt your ways and ideas. But it’s still important to listen to what they have to say. It could be something you might have missed. While most people think you should ignore what others are saying and believe in yourself, it’s only partly true. You do need to believe in yourself. And, to an extent you do need to ignore what others are saying. Only to a point where their negativity doesn’t affect you. You should listen to their comments and constructive criticism that might be hidden in their negativity.

Own your decisions

As a visionary leader who is making tough decisions and going against the grain, you need to be ready to own those decisions and take responsibility for the consequences, whether good or bad. You can not place blame on anyone in your team or outside, on the environment or the industry. You must be ready to take sole ownership of your decisions and sole responsibility for the outcomes of your decisions.

Being a visionary leader is a demanding job which is why there are a precious few. But anyone can be one if they have the passion and drive to make the world a little better for the long run and not just the immediate future.

Further Reading:


Q. What is the importance of considering fresh perspectives?

A. Considering broader perspectives helps you make decisions that will be relevant to the challenges at hand.


Q. What caution must be taken before taking risks?

A. Risks need to be studied and researched well before implementation so that a risky move is not detrimental to you or your company.

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