Remember childhood? Anything was possible. We all dreamed of being a firefighter, a ballerina, a future president or something grand. We grabbed the hose, twirled in our tutus, or stood on the highest step shouting to the imaginary masses. Whatever the dream, whatever the vision, we all had one thing in common: in those moments, we were leaders. We wanted to take anyone who would listen on our adventures. More than that, we made them believe in our ventures.

So what does that have to do with business today? Everything. The confidence and conviction children so often display, are the same characteristics that make a great leader. Modern visionaries have learned to channel those child-like attributes and transition from managers to leaders that shape business vision into real success.

Are You A Leader Or A Manager?

There are certainly great leaders all over the world, but at the heart of every great leader is a visionary.  A visionary in business is a leader who has a clear understanding of the overall end goal and uses that goal to task every move he or she makes. Where a manager only tells someone what to do, a leader involves everyone in the plan.  Where a manager instructs people, a real leader encourages, motivates, and shares their passion, enabling others to take part in the strategic vision and execution that will ensure success.

Leaders Plan

Philosopher, Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Taking that first step is great, but without a plan you won’t get very far. Leaders know this, and the best ones use smart strategic tools to devise the right plan and execute their overall goal. From strategic planning models to strategy software, leaders carefully map out individual strategic plans of action that support the overall aim. If the plan is not working, leaders change it but not the goal. Successful leaders recognize that flexibility and agility are critical components to the right strategic plan.

Leaders Don’t Stand Alone

Great leaders stand out, but they do not stand alone. They lead, motivate, and offer others the strategic tools they need to become leaders in their own right. With the right strategy, every manager can become a leader and learn how to direct themselves as well as those around them. Leaders empower others, helping them move beyond a manager perspective to become a strategic visionary. While managers add value to an organization and help execute strategic plans, true leaders display a passion and confidence for turning strategic vision into operational success.