Visionary leadership is a style of leading others. Here Scott Jeffery gives his opinion on what makes a visionary leader. Originally written for Business to Community.

There are other leadership styles, but this one is arguably the most vital for today’s business leaders looking to create thriving organizations that achieve long-term success.

The late Steve Jobs is the poster child for this style. Surely, Jobs demonstrated most of the qualities we will highlight below.

What is Visionary Leadership?

Visionary leaders have a compelling vision for their business. They can see beyond the ambiguity and challenges of today to an empowering picture of tomorrow.

Visionary leaders impregnate their team and the organization itself with this vision.

Fueled by inspirations, the organization charts its course to this new future.

Visionary leaders aren’t authoritarian or dictatorial; they don’t seek control over their employees.

Instead, they provide freedom to employees to determine the best path to actualizing this vision.

It’s a discipline to hold the end picture in mind. It takes commitment to work towards this vision each day.

Why Visionary Leadership is So Important

Endless information inundates all of us. We live in a world of endless distractions.

How challenging is it to focus on a given task for a mere hour?

Now consider the inherent challenges of holding a long-term picture in mind over a period of years.

Effective collaboration is necessary for any group of people looking to create something, bring it to market, and grow in a competitive arena.

Visionary leaders have a way of inspiring their organization to rally around a shared vision. This alignment gives the organization a competitive advantage.

10 Qualities of Visionary Leaders

Here are ten hallmark traits of visionary leaders:


What does inspirational mean? It means that visionary leaders tap into our emotions.

They ignite our passions. They drive our emotions in the right direction to bring out the best in us.

Emotionally Intelligent

To inspire with consistency, a leader must be aware of his emotions and empathic (aware of the feelings of others).

Only through empathy can a leader connect with the hearts of their team and inspire them to realize their greatness.

Open Minded

Although visionaries hold a big picture in mind, they are flexible on how they get there.

They are receptive to new information and can hold multiple perspectives. This open-mindedness allows them to navigate difficult situations with a flexible mind, pulling from many resources and sometimes unrelated industries to arrive at creative solutions.


Visionary leaders have a childlike playfulness. They value their imagination and allow themselves to dream, exercising their mind’s eye to see beyond what’s in the physical world at the moment.

They encourage others to dream big too.


Social pressures influence visionary leaders less than most others. Their high conviction holds in the face of adversity.

Setbacks aren’t a sign of failure to them; they are mere stopping points on the way to realizing their vision. As such, they are willing to take calculated risks and endure uncertainty. They give assurance and clarity to others when facing uncertainty.


Obstacles are constant. Realizing the vision will not be easy. With inner resolve, visionary leaders push through difficulties and setbacks.

They remain agile enough to pivot and make course corrections, but they always persist.


You can’t bring a vision to life alone. It takes a talented team that can work together. Visionary leaders inspire others to harness their unique gifts and strengths to innovate and find creative solutions.

They create an open environment where people learn to trust each other. And that trust starts with the leader.