Here is a video of a machine shop owner. He is a visionary leader, and in this short video he describes himself as such. Listen to his words. Everything he says is very typical of the visionary leader, and it’s quite cringe worthy (in my opinion).
I’m sure his company really does nice work. And of course, it’s his company and he can run it however he wants. Who do I think I am to criticize? Well, I just can’t help myself.
Notice how it’s primarily about him and his vision, not the work. He’s right to demand excellence from his employees, of course, but he is demanding much more than that. He wants his workers to be loyal to him personally, to such a degree that it goes beyond the shop setting. I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy has regular barbecues at his house for his employees where, while they eat the best hamburgers made from scratch, they are subjected to vision preaching. I would be equally unsurprised to learn that he fired some excellent machinists because they didn’t buy into his vision, while keeping on some less talented guys because they did. The kind of guys that would truly want to work for this company long term are probably equally annoying vision preachers.
A master is not interested in creating a cult (when you hear the word “culture” you’ve entered cult territory). The master cares about excellence just as much as the owner in the video, but he creates that excellence by hiring workers who are already passionate about the work itself. He will allow the individuals he hires to be individuals. Everyone is different and has unique personalities and styles. While the visionary wants to reproduce himself over and over, the master wants his people to be who they are regardless of who he is. The master will use the different individual strengths of his people, while the visionary will cut off anyone whose strengths don’t line up with his vision.