13 Jul 2017
By Simone Jeavons
Senior Consultant at Integral Development
Reflect for a moment and ask yourself...
- How often do you get caught up in putting out fires instead of focusing on your key priorities?
- Do you keep saying to yourself you want to be a more proactive leader instead of a reactive leader?
- How do you find the time, when you are so busy, for strategy formulation and implementation, to guide your team and organisation towards achieving long-term success and stability?
As a leader, your answers to these questions determine how successful you will be.
So what makes a strategic leader?
Being a strategic leader involves being able to effectively influence the organisation towards a direction that enables the long term financial stability in a constantly changing market. A strategic leader sets the vision and clear direction and then empowers their team to move towards achieving it. As a leader who is future focused, their ability to manage ambiguity and lead the team through change is also critical and they ensure the leadership team is aligned. They also demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and ensure that communication is clear, accurate, timely and often. Most importantly, they make the time for regular strategic planning days where the organisation's strategy is discussed, formulated and an actionable plan is created.
Within successful organisations’, a leaders’ ability to identify strategic imperatives and implement an action plan, differentiates the good from the great. Strategic leaders read the market, predict or even create a ‘disruption’ within their industry, are on the front foot with technology and are the first to capture the market's attention. Think Apple. Think Xero. And then think about Kodak or Nokia. Who were the strategic leaders here? Who do you think found the time to invest in creating a strategic roadmap and fostered a culture of innovation and forward looking?
To be an impactful leader, you need to be bringing people along on the journey with you. Empowering people to make decisions and then supporting and guiding them along the way. This comes from being able to ‘read’ people and to walk a mile in their shoes. Whilst this may not come as naturally to some leaders as their technical capability, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learnt. And it also separates out the good from the great.
Impactful leaders also surround themselves with a trustworthy and skilled team, who they delegate effectively to, allowing them to focus on the key priorities. They have implemented an effective succession plan, allowing them time to step out of the business to refill their tank, and to continually develop themselves. They apply the same principle to their team and coach and develop them and have their own coach to guide them through the choppy waters of leadership. Because none of us knows everything. And that is a key trait of a strategic leader. They are humble and open to new experiences and information.
If you want to take the next step in polishing your leadership skillset to become an emotionally intelligent, impactful and strategic leader, consider Integral Development’s Leading for Strategic Impact 5 day Program. You will walk away with skills and clarity around the strategic direction of your organisation that will enable you to lead it successfully into the future.
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