March 9, 2021

What it Means to be a Visionary Leader

What it Means to be a Visionary Leader

What does it mean to have Visionary Leadership? Why are some Visionary Leadership styles more effective than others? How can you become the Visionary Leader your company needs to succeed? Find out.

In today’s episode on The Systems Made Simple™ Podcast, we're revealing the truth about visionary leadership and what it really means to be the visionary leader of your company. 

If you’re hovering around that six-figure mark and you're not sure how to break through to the next level because you can't work any harder than you already are, then this week's episode is for you, where you'll get a peek behind the scenes of our operations here at The EffortLESS Life®.

Even if you're not at this level yet in your business, you want to listen in so that you can avoid the mistakes and the pitfalls that so many entrepreneurs make along the way to six figures so that you don't have to waste your time on trial and error.


  • The four qualities visionary leaders have that other entrepreneurs are missing

  • The trap that keeps you from being seen as a visionary leader (and how to avoid it)

  • The real reason why you haven’t been able to scale your business as quickly as you want to

  • The number one question you need to be asking yourself that will streamline your workload so you can work less and be that visionary leader

If this episode inspires you, leave a review and share your biggest takeaway with me. And while you've got your phone out, make sure to follow me on Instagram @thecourtneyelmer for more quick tips on how to streamline your business systems and spend more time in your zone of genius.





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© Copyright 2022 | The EffortLESS Life®


You're listening to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, Episode 60, which is all about visionary leadership and how to run your business like we do at the EffortLESS Life®. Today I'm going to reveal the truth behind visionary leadership. If you are someone who is hitting 10K months, but maybe not consistently, or you feel stuck, like you're hovering around that $6-figure mark, and you're not sure how to break through to the next level because you can't work any harder than you already are, then this week's episode is for you. Even if you're not at this level yet in your business, you want to listen in so that you can avoid the mistakes and the pitfalls that so many entrepreneurs make along the way to six figures so that you don't have to waste your time on trial and error.


You want to know one of the biggest problems that I see amongst entrepreneurs? They spend way too darn much time working in their business versus working on their business. They haven’t cultivated that visionary leadership style yet. And you might be sitting here listening, nodding your head. Yes. I'm imagining you nodding your head right now because I know you know it's true.

I know that you've been there because I've been there too, before I started the EffortLESS Life®. For many years, that was me. I was living by the story that it would be quicker to do it myself, that it would save me time to do it myself, that it would save me money if I just hurried up and did it myself, which comes to think of it, it sounds pretty logical.

I started looking at how the very things that you think are helping you grow by doing it all yourself is actually holding you back. So I wanted to talk with you today to give you a few thoughts on what you can do about it, so that you can start working less and stop wasting so much of your time and energy on the things that don't make you money.

Now first, I'm going to show you what the heck a visionary leader is and how becoming one will help you reach that next level in revenue faster. I'm also going to show you the four qualities that I've observed, visionary leaders have that other entrepreneurs are missing. And, I’m going to let you in on a theory that I have about why so many entrepreneurs stay stuck in their business, and what separates them from the influencers that you look up to and aspire to be like so that you can join their ranks. 

So what's a visionary leader or visionary leadership? I get this question all the time and the simplest way to put it is that a visionary leader ensures that their vision becomes reality by creating clear goals and outlining a very strategic plan for themselves and their team to achieve those goals. And something else that visionary leaders do is they equip their team and they empower each person that works with them that supports them to take action on this plan.

At the organizational and team levels and also at an individual level, there's a layer of personal responsibility there that a visionary leader inspires in each of their team members. But there's a definition of a visionary leader that I like better. 

Here’s what it is: a visionary leader is an individual who sees the potential for how the world should exist, and then takes steps to get there. I love that so much I’ve got to say it again. A visionary leader is an individual who sees the potential for how the world should exist and then takes steps to get there. 

And there are a few qualities that I've observed that visionary leaders possess that other entrepreneurs don't. We try to practice this at the EffortLESS Life®. 

They have a certain skill set that they employ every day that they have mastered, that other entrepreneurs are missing. This visionary leadership skill set boils down to four things, which we strive for at the EffortLESS Life®: 

  1. They have a clear vision for where they're going 
  2. They have a clear strategy in place to get there
  3. They have mastered their own mindset and they know how to manage their emotions and, 
  4. They prioritize their wellbeing along the way 

Now there are elements to each of these things that we'll dive a little bit deeper into, but those are the four main themes. The four main recurring practices that I see visionary leaders have. Also here’s a bonus: most importantly, they don't hide behind busywork. They are truly productive and know what visionary leadership means. We're going to come back to that in a minute, but let's talk about these four elements for a second.

They've got a clear vision. Now, there are three elements that contribute to you being able to have a clear vision for your life and for your business. The three elements are of visionary leadership:

  1. You're clear on your core values, what you value personally, what you value as a company. 

  2. You're clear on your mission. You're clear about what you're here to do. This is a pitfall that I see a lot of entrepreneurs miss. Maybe when they first started their company, they did a little work on their core values or their mission, or maybe it's one of those things that fell to the back burner and they never paid any attention to it.

  3. Then the third piece is that these visionary leaders have learned how to articulate that vision. They know how to communicate that vision in a way that inspires other people to link arms with them that inspires other people to say, Oh my gosh, I want to be a part of this. How can I help you bring this to life? 


Now, when it comes to having a clear strategy in place, there's three elements to that as well.

  1. There's your overall strategy: you've got the clear vision, but now how are you going to get there? What's the overall game plan to get there?

  2. But, that overall strategy has to get broken down into a day-by-day strategy because it's one thing to have an overall plan. If you haven't broken it out to say, “what are the exact tasks that I need to do every day that are worth my time that bring in revenue into my business?” then you're not going to be able to execute the overall strategy. So your daily strategy becomes that method of execution, which puts the overall strategy into action, which brings the vision to life. 

  3. Then the third critical element of having a clear strategy in place is having systems and support in place as well. In terms of a team or contractors or freelancers who are supporting you with some of the grunt work, here's something that most entrepreneurs miss.

There's many entrepreneurs and I've worked with many of them who solve problems by doing. And so they become addicted to doing things because it gives them a false sense of satisfaction, and it gives them the illusion that things are under control, but this can cause them to hide behind the busy work.

Too, it causes their income to suffer in their business because they're so bogged down by the busy work that they're not focused on those revenue generating activities. And what they don't realize is that the amount of things that they can do is not scalable. You can have an unlimited number of systems in place.

You can have an unlimited number of support people in place, whether that's team members, colleagues, personnel, whoever that is to support you in that vision. But you are limited by how much you can DO.  Most entrepreneurs don't realize this, so this is why they struggle day to day. Crossing items off their to do list, but feeling like they're not actually making any real progress toward this vision and likely because that vision isn't really crystal clear. This is not visionary leadership. 

So another element that visionary leaders have and something that they have mastered to the nth degree is their own mindset. They know how to manage their emotions. This is huge. And this starts with having self-awareness. When I started out in business, I didn't have any self-awareness whatsoever. This is the opposite of visionary leadership. 

I had to learn the hard way and it wasn't until I started working with my very first business coach and mentor that I even began to understand the concept of self-awareness and of personal responsibility, which is the second element that really contributes to this whole mastering of the mindset that visionary leaders do so well.

Self-awareness cultivating that every day, growing in that awareness. Taking 100% personal responsibility looking for the lessons, not blaming the situations or the circumstances or the people around them for not having the results that they want, but instead taking a deeper look and noticing where they gave their power away and taking the personal responsibility to take it back. 

And then something else that really is, is such an important element of this whole mindset piece. Is having the right self coaching tools in place. I'm all for hiring a coach when you know why you need one. And when you hire the right one to help you over a specific particular hurdle in your business.

But I also believe that when you are equipped with some very powerful, very simple self coaching tools, you can cultivate. Your own awareness and your own ability to coach yourself out of the day-to-day problems and challenges that arise. This is why we really put an emphasis on this in our programs. This is why we emphasize visionary leadership. 

When we work with students, we teach them these self coaching tools. So they don't have to go out there and hire and invest in some expensive coach to coach them. So on the one hand, yes. Make smart investments when it comes to your coaching. Sometimes that requires hiring a professional who can help you pass a certain obstacle, but when it comes to the everyday day-to-day stuff, if you are mastering your mindset through cultivating, self-awareness practicing personal responsibility, and you've got those self-coaching tools in your back pocket to pull out at a moment's notice when you need them, it becomes much easier to manage the emotional roller coaster that entrepreneurship can be.

And then this fourth and final element was one that was missing from our framework for quite a while, which you might laugh at because hello, where the EffortLESS Life®, like what the heck, how was our brand missing this? It was something that was always inherent in our messaging, but we never called it out until recently.

And now we're calling it out. And so this is this fourth pillar, if you will, or area that we see visionary leaders prioritizing: they prioritize their wellbeing. There's three elements to this as well. This is your personal priorities, your boundaries, and not just having those boundaries, but how well you're holding those boundaries to protect your time and energy management.

Energy management over time management. A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that well, if I can just manage my time better than I can succeed, that just ain't true. I'm going to tell you like it is — that ain't true. Energy management. How well are you managing your energy throughout the day? How does that impact your visionary leadership? 

And even more importantly than managing, how well are you protecting your energy throughout the day? In order to have energy stores reserved and at the ready for those creative high payoff money-making activities. So those are the four key areas, the key pillars, the key qualities that we see visionary leaders possess, and the three elements that support each one, vision, strategy, mindset, wellbeing. This is visionary leadership. 

That visionary leaders don't hide behind the busy work. They don't hide behind busy work because they've put the systems and the support in place that they need to get out from under all the doing. And this allows them to simply be who they're called to be. And when they're able to do that, they're seen as an authority they're seen as a leader, they're looked up to because people begin to aspire to be like them.

Not hiding behind the busy work is really big. And this leads us to my theory. My theory is that the reason most entrepreneurs hide behind busy work is out of a fear of being seen, which is so ironic because isn't being seen as the go-to expert or authority, or as a trustworthy leader in your space, something that you want.

Yet how do you expect to be seen as a leader if you're afraid of showing up as one. And therefore playing small by hiding behind the busy work in your business. Now I'm not pointing fingers here. This is something I've done myself too. I've made this mistake in a big way. Even now, to some extent is something I have become cognizant of in recent months.

I'm working on making the choice to do less. It's a choice--and an example of visionary leadership. When my team bounces something back on my plate, I bounce it right back. Whereas in the past, I might've taken it on and said, all right, let me just knock it out so we can get it done and cross it off and keep going.

There's something that's been helping me with that. And I'm going to share it here with you too, because I think it's going to help you too. You might've heard it said, you know, such an Instagrammable quote, “The less I do, the more I make.” Whoop de doo, right? Like, great. Good for you if that's working for you. 

That's what I think when I see these things come across my Instagram feed, I'm like, that's all fine and good. It sounds wonderful. The less I do, the more I make sounds great. But chances are, that was some seven figure entrepreneur telling you that. So it becomes really easy for your brain to gloss over it and go, yay works for you, but not for me. I still have to work hard to make it to that level. I’m still working on my visionary leadership. I will do that all of the time. 

But I'm going to let you in on a little secret here. The reason successful people say this is because visionary leaders place a high value on two things, people and planning. People and planning, that's it meaning that they focus on relationships and leadership, they value action, the least, which is really counterintuitive.

Because you scroll through Instagram long enough, you'll see plenty of quotes and memes and things saying, do the hard thing, reap the reward. Get the result. Overcome fear, take action. It's about taking inspired action. It's about taking intentional action. Oh my gosh. Okay. I need to get off the soapbox deep breath, Courtney.

It's laughable when you sit back and think about it because it makes no sense. Action is the thing that is the least scalable in your business. If you're hearing my voice right now, and you're in a place where you can write that down, please go write that down. Action is the thing that is the least scalable in your business.

So instead of saying, I need to do X, Y, or Z that I don't want to do in order to get to a point where I don't have to do it, what you need to be asking yourself instead: “How can I do the thing I'm good at to cause the thing I don't want to do to get fixed?” Here's an example. Let's say you have a lead magnet that needs to be created.

Maybe you're not that great with graphics or maybe you are, but you just don't want to do it. You're sick of using Canva. You don't want to take the hour and a half that it's going to take to put everything together and make it all look pretty. And you're like, I'm over it. But you feel like, Oh, maybe I should just do it real quick and get it done and knock it out and scratch it off the list.


Here's where you ask the question. How can I do the thing that I'm good at to pay for the thing that I don't want to do? Like lead magnet creation and get it taken care of. And I'm going to let you in on another secret here. I wasn't prepared to give you all these secrets today, but I'm going to give them to you anyway, because we teach this to our aspiring visionary leaders here at the EffortLESS Life®. There is no limit to the systems that you can have in place to support you or the people that you can have in place to support you. But there's a limit over what you can do. And I alluded to this earlier, and I really want you to get this. If you walk away with nothing else from this.

Walk away with this: there is no limit to the systems and people you can put in place to support you, but there is a very definitive limit to how much you can do. So if the light bulbs are going off in your head right now, and you're saying, okay, this sounds good, Courtney. Yes. I want to do less. I want to learn how to get the systems in place and the support in place and to know how to do that and do it right so I'm not spinning my wheels or wasting my time. Then here's what I want you to do next. I want you to come join me for my next live virtual workshop, where I'm going to show you step-by-step how to start owning your power as the visionary leader of your company, and step fully into that role in order to reach the next level.

I want to help you get the structure and the systems in place in your business that you need to get out of overwhelm for. Good and step away from all that senseless behind the scenes, busywork that you're hiding behind right now. So that you can experience more freedom, and get your message out there in a bigger way, and let people see you for the genius and the amazing person that you are. Start your visionary leadership journey. 

We do these by invite only at the EffortLESS Life®. So what you'll need to do is simply add yourself to our wait list so that our team can reach out and notify you via email as soon as we put together the dates and times for the next training at the EffortLESS Life®.

We do these on a regular basis. I love teaching them live. I love being able to sit there and interact with you and answer questions and it's just so much fun for me. You can register there now at That's where you can add your name to our waitlist so we can contact you.

And if you’d ever like to ask me a question about something you might be struggling with on visionary leadership, or a challenge you can't seem to overcome in your life or business, hit me up on Instagram. You can find me there and send me a personal DM. That's my personal account. And I love hearing from listeners like you, I love seeing what you're up to. And more importantly, I love helping you overcome those challenges and obstacles that you face. So you can keep moving forward and doing the dang thing that you've been put here on this earth to do.

Now coming up next week on the show, I'm going to sit down with a cool guest who has created a new way for entrepreneurs to network online because in a world post COVID people are scrambling to recreate these networking environments online through Facebook communities and clubhouse rooms, and other means, but are these as effective as they could be for bringing in traffic and referrals to your business?

Do you know how effective they are for bringing in traffic and referrals to your business? If your answer is no, then you need to join me next week because our guest is going to show you a brand new way to network one that gives you the most return for your time invested. That's coming up next week right here on the Systems Made Simple™ podcast. Until then go live your EffortLESS Life®.