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Tuesday, 12 February 2013 17:07

Visionary Leadership: Oprah Winfrey Featured

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Visionary Leadership: Oprah Winfrey


A visionary leader is an individual within an organization who can lead the organization towards making significant positive changes. The visionary leader looks beyond the present. S/he looks into the future by determining precise actions that will foster positive change to the organization. Visionary leaders no only imagine a better and new circumstance but they challenge their colleague and or employees to strive to achieve the ultimate goal. Such leaders are able to lead change in such a way that the affected parties see the need for the change and thus embrace it (Cardenas, & Crabtree, 2009).

In any organization, that aspires to be prosperous and remain competitive in the ever changing world of business, it is essential to have a visionary leader at the helm. With visionary leadership the organization will not lag behind. Focus will be on ensuring that the organization remains a step ahead of its competitors. A successful visionary leader will effectively put to action his or her visions as s/he is able to create realistic goals, plan for the appropriate actions and encourage team spirit in an effort to realize the ultimate vision for the organization/enterprise (McLaughlin, 2001).


The world today has many individual that can be labeled as visionary leaders. One outstanding personality is Oprah Winfrey. Oprah Gail Winfrey is a renowned business personality and visionary who is known across the globe. Having come from a poor background and upbringing Winfrey emerged to be one of the most influential individual in the world. Winfrey came out open with the story of her upbringing and challenges where she was sexually assaulted at age nine (Oprah Winfrey Biography, 2011). She had her son as a teenager at the age of 14 and lived in abject poverty.  Regardless of the hardships and tribulations Winfrey overcomes her tribulations and trials and became a respectable and influential woman in the society. She is not only a talk show but also an actress and philanthropist.

Winfrey has always preached that education is the key to the ultimate freedom and liberation. She envisioned that if individual in the society are given an opportunity at education they shall have a better chance at life than without any education. Winfrey established her own private charity organization that offer financial assistance in the form of grants to institutions and organization that focus on education and empowering people to be educated (Oprah Winfrey Biography, 2011).  Her vision on education is not only focused on the USA but across the world. In South Africa she established the ‘Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls’.

Winfrey had seen that the girl child lacked adequate opportunities for growth and education in Africa. Determine to change this image, she established the above school with the aim of providing girls with an institution to promote their education and promote their leadership skills.

Oprah Winfrey is also a successful American Talk show host who has successfully run ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ for 25 seasons. The show which ended in 2011 has been one of the most successful and high rated shows in the world. Oprah used the show to inspire and encourage people through telling the tales of others. She greatly contributed to change in society in various ways.

Winfrey used the show to discuss common social issues such as Drugs, homosexuality, teenage pregnancies etc. through shows that talked about such social issues Winfrey was able to reach out to million of viewers.  Individuals that were in such situations or had relatives of friends in any of the above situations saw a glimmer of hope as Winfrey showed them that they are not alone. Issues on homosexuality for instance took a while to be accepted in the society (Oprah Winfrey Biography, 2011). Winfrey, through her show made the world realize that these individual are just like any other heterosexual individual they should thus be treated with the same respect and dignity as everyone else.  Such shows promoted unity in society and reduced the occurrence of discriminations.

Winfrey has inspired people across the globe to be better people within their society. To be people that no only think about themselves and their well being but also of the well being of those around them. In any society there are those individual that are well off, the middle class and the poor who hardly have the means to survive by the day. Winfrey, through one of her many talk shows encourage viewers to focus on making a difference in other propel lives.

This led to the opening up of the ‘Oprah’s Angels Network’, a public charity program aimed at aiding the unfortunate and destitute in the society (Oprah Winfrey Biography, 2011). All the funds that are raised in this program are used for charity ventures such as offering scholarship to bright but needy students, and funding women shelters and orphanages. These charities are organized on a world wide scale and thus benefit everyone across the globe.

Winfrey’s visionary leader attitude is the reason why she finally chose to end her daytime show and focus on own cable televisions: OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). Though OWN has not caught on like ‘the Oprah Winfrey Show’ Winfrey still believes that it is just a matter of time before its rating begins to go up. With determination and dreams of a great success, Winfrey now manages the cable network as the Chief executive officer.  Her belief in the future success of OWN is the motivator and the drive that the rest of her employees rely on determined to see the dream and vision comes true.

Visionary leaders such as Oprah Winfrey are need in the workplace (Oprah Winfrey Biography, 2011). Such leaders drive organization through success and attaining set organizational goals.

This is possible as the visionary leader not only delegates duties but also steps in and assists the rest of the employees to attain the set goals. A visionary leader act on the dreams and aspiration that s/he sees the organization achieving. S/he thus acts as a motivator and inspiration to the rest of the employees to also be determined and also put the extra effort so as to realize the goals of the organization.

Business conditions that call for change require visionary leadership so as to be successful. Oprah was determined to change the fate of the girl child in Africa. She thus established the ‘Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls’ which has given the girl child an opportunity to make a difference in their lives and their society. Resolving conflict within the business also requires an individual with visionary leadership. The leader will thus look beyond the problem at hand and remind the individual involved in the conflict of the overall goal (McLaughlin, 2001).

When the leadership academy in South Africa was faced with accusation of sexual and physical abuse. Winfrey did not try to cover up the events but strongly condemned the incident and asked for the full action by law enforcers. She was determined to ensure that the institution remains focused on providing academic and leadership opportunities to the students.

Visionary leaders are also essential in the workplace as they show and treat the employees as valuable assets. When the employees realize that the leaders personally views them as individual of value and essential in the success of the organization, their morale is boosted. The most important asset in any company is the work force (Cardenas, & Crabtree, 2009). Without employees the organization cannot run and thus the vision and goal set for the organization would not be realized. A visionary leader will know this and will ensure that the employees are well catered fro and their concerns and grievances are addressed.


The need for visionary leadership within organization cannot be overemphasized. Visionary leaders are committed to core spiritual values. This is beside their expertise and prowess in managing the organization.  Visionary leader hold close personal integrity, energy and will to succeed in every of their endeavor. Oprah Winfrey has proven to not only be a personality to reckon with but a visionary leader. She has emerged as a successful and influential personality who has brought change on a global perspective.

In the fields of education she has assisted hundred to get further their education through scholarships and the establishment of educational institution such as the one in South Africa. She had instilled in people the spirit of thinking about others and thus established successful; charities aimed as helping the poor and destitute in the society. Recently Winfrey began OWN cable television which she sits at the helm and expects to grow and be as successful as her daytime show that ended after 25 seasons.


Cardenas, J., & Crabtree, G. (2009). Making time for visionary leadership. College and University, 84(3), 59-63. Retrieved ProQuest. (Document ID: 1806068931). =PQD

McLaughlin, C. (2001). Visionary leadership. Retrieved from

Oprah Winfrey Biography. (2011) retrieved from

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