A leader knows where they’re going, and shows other people how to get there. That’s a popular and succinct definition of what a leader does. Some also use it as a definition of leadership. I agree, but it’s incomplete. A leader is more than someone who has specialized knowledge of a destination and chooses to share it with others. A leader creates the destination. It’s called having a vision. Vision and destination are interchangeable. A vision is a place that is imaginable, palpable, and desirable. A leader paints a literal or figurative picture of the destination—the vision—and shares it with his or her followers. The leader’s job doesn’t stop there, though.

Once a bright and clear picture of where we’re going is there for all to see, it’s the leader’s job to show each follower their place within the destination. If I am expecting you to follow me somewhere, I must show you how you fit into that somewhere. I need to prove how following me to that somewhere adds value to you. You need to be able to see yourself involved in that new somewhere, thriving and being better for having followed me there. This is called “buying into the vision.” If I can’t get that buy-in from you, no matter what your words may convey, you aren’t going to follow me there.


The how of getting to the destination is the mission, a vehicle. It’s also the leader’s job to create the vehicle and convince the followers it’s not only the right vehicle but it’s also going to get us there. Here’s an example. If I were to say to you that we’re going to travel from Houston to Seattle and our vehicle is a two-person bicycle, you might not only question my sanity but also my seriousness. The first and most important job of a leader is to create and articulate a vision, along with an appropriate accompanying mission. But, the leader’s job still isn’t over.

Leaders don’t become leaders by reading books. This may sound strange coming from someone who has a doctorate in leadership and read thousands of pages about leadership. Leaders beget leaders. We grow them by sowing seeds and nurturing those seeds through leadership mentoring, coaching, encouraging, and leading an ethically intelligent life. That’s why I offer leadership consultant services that will show you to develop your leadership skills and achieve your goals.

I can show you, your team, and your organization how this works and the payoff for doing it right.