A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?"
Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."
(John 13:36 NIV)
Visionary leaders are those who have the ability to define the common direction of their group, whether it be their country, their community, their church, or their family. They have decide on realistic courses for future action, understanding that there are many possible outcomes based upon their group's present position.
Jesus, the Visionary Leader
When Jesus gave the Apostles his new commandment, he was acting as a visionary leader. He understood that love and compassion were the means by which Christianity would spread across the world, and that the mercy and forgiveness of God were endless and eternal.
This sort of foresight is intrinsic to visionary leadership. Visionary leaders have an almost uncanny knack for peering into the future and understanding what they and their group have to do now in order to achieve their goals later. How are they able to make such good decisions?
Visionary Leaders Understand Themselves
In addition to foresight, great visionary leaders also have insight -- the ability to understand themselves, which in turn allows them to better understand others. Understanding oneself is the key to many areas of leadership, and can be accomplished in many ways.
For those who are truly insightful, in fact, there isn't a single moment of their lives that doesn't tell them something about themselves. They are keenly attuned to how they affect the world, and how the world in turn affects them, which allows them amazing powers of perception.
The Experience and Imagination of Vision
Visionary leaders are also likely to have a great deal of experience -- Jesus, for example, knew the experience of love, and so was able to share that experience with his followers and disciples.
Imagination is also a strong part of visionary leadership. Walt Disney once said, "If you can dream it, you can do it," and this is a principle to which many visionary leaders subscribe.
The Values of Visionary Leaders
Finally, and most importantly, visionary leaders have strong values and ideals. Walt Disney was driven by a belief in the future and the power of technology. In contrast, Jesus' visionary leading was driven by his belief in one true God and the endless love of His existence.
Developing the visionary leadership style is a matter of developing yourself and the depth of your beliefs. With a strong faith and sound judgment, all things are possible.