Discover more from Admired Leadership Field Notes
Does Your Team Have Vision Fatigue?
For leaders, keeping the vision and long-range goals front and center for the team is essential work. Team members are more engaged and confident when they know where the ship is headed and how the organization plans to get there. But when progress is slow or inhibited over a long period of time, the team can experience Vision Fatigue.
The failure to make significant progress over many months can wear on team members. Leaders who frequently articulate the vision in the face of successive setbacks or inertia don’t motivate anyone. They irritate people, instead.
Once a team has vision fatigue, they respond negatively to anything big picture. They crave new tactics and the celebration of short-term milestones, but find the optimism and confidence leaders have in the vision to be overblown and annoying. It’s not uncommon for team members with Vision Fatigue to make fun of the vision or to decry its articulation at yet another team meeting.
Whereas overcommunication is generally a good thing in organizations, those with vision fatigue will often react with negativity and talk the organization down to anyone who will listen. Referring to the vision soon becomes a nightmare for leaders.
Unfortunately, there is no line in the sand or critical marker that tells a leader that the team is experiencing Vision Fatigue. The best call is to presume that any successive failure or lack of progress may suggest the need for new tactics and actions rather than a rehash of the long-range goals and vision. A slowdown over a few months doesn’t meet this criterion, but more than six months or a year of poor performance certainly does.
At that point, team members look to leaders for answers and a way out of the doldrums, not an impassioned speech about the organization’s aspirations and dreams. If leadership is the capacity to translate a vision into a reality, then sometimes the focus on reality takes precedence.
Leaders need to be reminded that digging the team out of a deep hole doesn’t require everyone to look toward the sky for inspiration. Rather, it demands everyone grab a ladder and begin the climb out.