Leadership professors Barry Posner and Jim Kouzes, after surveying thousands of people on ideal leadership qualities, reveal that the ability to look forward is second only to honesty as the most admired trait.
On average, 70 percent of workers worldwide select “forward-looking” as a key leadership competency. Think about the leaders you’ve followed or admired. The great ones are visionaries who serve as custodians of the future. You want to partner with leaders who can create a better future.
As we age, gain more experience and move up the organizational hierarchy, our desire for a forward-looking leader increases, according to Posner and Kouzes. While only about one-third of undergraduate college students ranked “forward-looking” among their most important leadership attributes, more than 90 percent of senior executives had added it to their lists.
Some leaders are naturally future-oriented; many others excel as executors or talent managers. Still others shine at getting things done and making things happen; others bring out the best in people.
While achieving great results with people is always rewarding, it’s not enough for promotion to higher levels of responsibility and leadership. To take that step, you must expand your ability to communicate a vision for the future. Forward-looking leaders can spot opportunities in their day-to-day work, and they excel at anticipatory thinking.