5 Roadblocks for Visionaries

Posted: October 1, 2012 in Leadership Development


A great leadership principle is this: “The skills and habits that got you to the place that you are right now, won’t take you where you need to go.” I am not sure who first said this, but it is so true! If you are frustrated on any level of not being able to get to the next place in your life, it is probably because you have been operating by a set of attitudes and behaviors which are keeping you from making the next leap in your journey. If you are happy at your current job, current life situation and don’t feel the yearning for a change, hey, no problem! This article may not be for you. But if you are one of those who never seems to be content unless there is another challenge on the horizon, if you are a visionary, listen up!

Here are some common roadblocks I have found among frustrated visionaries.

1. An inability to adjust to new situations.

Leading is an art, not so much a science. What works in one scenario may not work in another. Leaders of growing organizations must be willing to change their methods and consider new options for each situation and at each new stage of growth. A purposeful kind of flexibility is needed to consider what traditions or old mindsets need to be ditched in favor of the new.

2. An unwillingness to risk at a higher level.

It can be scary when you start going from talking about hundreds or thousands of dollars to tens of thousands or even millions of dollars. This fear eliminates many leaders from the game. Knowing that your risk could affect hundreds or thousands of people rather than just a few can also be too much for some. I think that all leaders need a healthy dose of measured optimism to pull off the job. If you don’t believe you can, neither will others.

3. An inability to see or utilize others.

It’s easy to be a one man or one woman show when you start out, but it is impossible to pull off in the big leagues. Something I constantly hear from leaders of large organizations is the willingness to mobilize people with remarkably little training and remarkably few hoops to jump through. It is usually on the job training that people need, when they need the training to survive. Circumstances will never be ideal, so we have to make do with the people we have. There will always be people who are under qualified, but it is our job as leaders to see the best in them, to believe in them, and to pull out the gold. Finding people and training takes time and energy. It is work that may take a while to pay off, but avoiding the work of training can cost you your next level of growth.

4. An unwillingness to grow from constructive criticism.

Leaders who move toward their critics are ones you need to watch. They are able to extract the meat from the bones. Beware of those who scoff at every criticism that comes their way. How can we be wise when we do not have a balanced view of our weaknesses as well as our strengths? Criticism should be taken as an educational tool, not as a reason to roll over in defeat. If we can see criticism with an objective eye, it can be a powerful educator.

5. An undersized vision.

You will only grow to the level of your vision. If your vision is all about you, you can only grow to the level of the people you are personally able to attract or to the level of your own skills or talent. If your vision is too small, you will not adjust to new situations, you will not risk at a higher level, you will not see and utilize others, and you will not grow from criticism. With bigger vision comes the natural willingness to be responsible for that vision, to sacrifice for that vision. Only you carry the responsibility for making that vision a reality.

Open your eyes and look around. Become a lifelong student, an observer of people, of other successful leaders, of your own challenges. Higher goals and higher levels require higher skill and higher insight. Don’t allow yourself to be frustrated by things that are within your power to change. Remember that in 360 degree leadership, 50 percent of your time should be spent leading yourself. Need some adjustments in your thinking? Make steps toward that change so it can begin to happen today. Every step you make toward changing your thinking is a step you make toward increasing the success of the vision you have.


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