Throughout history in art, science, medicine, technology and business, visionary leaders have played an important role in thinking differently within the parameters of the proverbial box or leaving the box behind completely. In order for visionary leaders to be successful, they must either also have detail-oriented leadership skills or surround themselves with team members who do, consult with those team members, and actually listen to them.
Visionary leadership can lower productivity when the aforementioned isn’t implemented. Sometimes people do or announce things, thinking that they’re going to create the next new best thing or make the masses happy or appease grievances. But if they don’t take into account those little details that might affect everyone, a seemingly thoughtful announcement can wreak havoc. Visionary leaders can birth what seems like the most brilliant ideas, but if those ideas don’t go through a process of planning, ramification research, preventive trouble-shooting and a carefully crafted roll-out, that brilliant idea can severely slow down business as usual, grind a business to an unexpected halt, or even permanently shutter a business.
Let’s look at an example of when what might seem like a sweeping change to support healing and justice could end up causing businesses across the country to lose a great deal of labor hours.
On Thursday, June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation declaring Juneteenth – June 19 – as a federal holiday. It was an announcement that brought elation to members of many communities. But as the news broke, businesses across the country went into scramble mode to figure out their responsibilities under this new legislation.
Unless an employee was tasked specifically with following the life of the proposed bill through its iterations, vote and signing, most people only heard a 30- to 60-second soundbite announcing the news. This meant that companies would need to research what’s required by law, what’s recommended, and if company policy about this holiday didn’t exist before, how should it now be handled.
Here are some example queries that immediately arose:
Did the observance of this new holiday begin this year on Saturday, June 19, 2021?
Is it a requirement?
If our company is closed on Saturday, must we give employees the day off on Friday?
Is it a paid holiday?
Since it’s last minute, can employees be required to work their already-scheduled shifts?
If the holiday will not be observed by the company, can an employee demand a paid holiday?
If a company denies an employee paid leave for the holiday, is that discrimination, racism, or a company’s right to make that decision?
Will wires and trades proceed as scheduled?
Will shipping proceed as scheduled?
Can deposits or withdrawals proceed as planned?
At an individual level:
Do I have to go into work?
If meetings are already scheduled, do they get rescheduled?
If I’d rather work than reschedule everything, is that an option?
If so, can I get a comp day?
If I’m part of the skeleton crew that must work, will I get paid holiday overtime?
This is just a small sampling of questions that arose and research that needed to take place because of a visionary idea. Something that could have been positive put the brakes on productivity in varying ways. While the effect in this example was massive because it was related to federal legislation, just imagine the slow downs that can happen in your company when a board member or c-suite member declares a vision that the company shall meet – without taking into consideration any of the details.
Visionary leadership cannot operate in a silo. Detail-oriented leadership cannot operate in a silo. The two must co-exist and collaborate whether this is through a single leader, a leadership partnership or a leadership body. If it doesn’t, then visionary leadership will lower productivity.