A Leader Is a Big Thinker

Leadership Development   Written by Sheila Murray Bethel - Word Count: 784
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Leaders that make a difference are big thinkers.  They know that seeing things others can't see is not only a quality of leadership, it is a responsibility.  Being a big thinker means being part pragmatist and part mystic. This talent is not as rare as you might think, it's as much an attitude as it is an aptitude. Your big thinking lets you see people, places, and things better and bigger than they see themselves.  As a visionary leader you'll find beauty were others do not, you'll seek opportunity were others find only problems and you'll see answers where others haven't yet recognized the questions.

Creativity, Imagination, Faith and Vision.

Creativity and imagination are abilities distinct from the capacity to acquire knowledge. Albert Einstein said that imagination is "something more important than knowledge" To enhance big thinking and productive innovation give yourself permission to let your imagination flow.  Don't reject any idea immediately or automatically. The most creative leaders allow their minds to give all possibilities an equal chance.

There is the story of the kindergarten teacher who ask a child what she is drawing "I'm drawing a picture of God," the child replies.  "But, sweetheart," says the teacher, "no one knows what God looks like."  "They will in a minute!"  Says the child.  That is thinking big.

True leaders possess similar child like faith.  Not a childish faith which lacks maturity and understanding but, a belief in themselves and others.

If you are a big thinker you have faith in your own God given skills, talents, and abilities.  More importantly you have a faith in and a desire for others to do well, to make a contribution and to have a meaningful life. Your faith in them can make a world of difference in how they perform because your faith acts as a catalyst to their courage.

Vision in its most exalted form reaches even beyond the limits of imagination.  It is "a waking dream" said Longfellow. Vision is "the art of seeing things invisible" said Jonathan Swift.  Making a difference often means seeing invisible challenges.

When circumstances keep people from developing and achieving, a big thinker becomes a leader who points out a new direction.  People will follow when your vision inspires them and adds meaning to their lives.  The leader who has a goal and works to achieve that goal helps people see past just today.

This vision of the future greatly influences human behavior by anticipating needs, expressing concerns and identifying common goals.  You can motivate people and give them something to aim for beyond their own interests.  When you do, your big thinking can help them to help others make a difference.

Specific Strategies

Here are five specific strategies to help you take your creativity, imagination, faith and vision and turn them into reality?

1.  Check your assumptions and expectations periodically

2.  Develop and defined your personal philosophy

3.  Challenge tradition and the prevailing wisdom

4.  Nurture curiosity, both in yourself and others

5.  Look for simplicity, whenever possible

Beyond the Conceivable

There are millions of ideas waiting to be discovered and acted on by big thinkers.  Eden Phillpotts said, "the universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper". Just one new idea could change the world. So Think Big.

The world needs your ideas an your idealism.  We have negative narrow thinking in abundance, and more than enough cynics.  Now we need people who can look for the brave and the beautiful were others seeing nothing.  We need big thinkers to nourish the imagination of others and help them to expand their own creative powers.

The world is changing so fast and the amount of information we must assimilate daily has increased so tremendously that leaders must see beyond the present and the obvious.  We must have high expectations for what is ahead, projecting others and ourselves into a positive future scenario.

Thinking big, developing your philosophy, your mission and having a vision, is more than a major responsibility of today's leaders, it is a biblical injunction: "where there is no vision, the people parish."  (Proverbs 29: 18)


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Sheila Murray Bethel is a best selling author, television personality and globally acclaimed professional speaker. Sheila's expertise is Change, Leadership, and Personal Excellence. She is the author of the best-selling book, Making A Difference: 12 Qualities That Make You a Leader, host of the new Public Television Specials, “Making A Difference”, and business woman. For information about Sheila’s Leadership Seminars and Workshops,



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