First described by Daniel Goleman in 2002, the visionary leadership style was one of six leadership types documented. The leader is inspiring in vision, and helps others to see how they can contribute to this vision; allowing the leader and followers to move together towards a shared view of the future.
Goleman believed that certain leadership styles were more effective under various conditions. This is known as conditional leadership. For example, visionary leaders are effective when a startup company is attempting to make a move into the marketplace with a product that is very different than products currently available in that marketplace.
The visionary leadership style is most effective when an organization needs a new and clear direction to follow. The visionary leader is able to share their view of the future, allowing followers to understand how they play an important role in that future state. By doing so, the followers become committed to making that vision come true.