Two businessmen playing chess

What is Strategic Leadership?

If you’re wondering ‘what is strategic leadership’, then read on for a breakdown of how this leadership style works.

Strategic leadership is one of the ways a leader might choose to direct themselves and the business they’re in charge of. Strategic leadership gets into the nitty gritty of an organisation and keep their eyes turned outwards for what’s next.

What is strategic leadership and its importance?

Strategic leadership, true to the name, is a style of leadership that adopts a heavy focus on strategy. For business, this means knowing your data, looking to the future, and executing plans to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Strategic leadership can be key to helping a business survive turbulent times, where shifts in technology or resources or customer spending can spell trouble. Suddenly, ‘the way it’s always been done’ isn’t so feasible anymore. Strategic leadership is vital to the making of a great leader.

Strategic leaders really shine when the task takes somebody willing to sit and do the deep thinking, to crunch the numbers (or else find somebody who can do the crunching for them). Strategic leaders are the tacticians on the business battlefield.

This style of leadership is excellent for companies that have very specific goals and are facing tight competition. Their analysis lets them identify what’s working, what isn’t, what competitors are doing and what is—and is not—working for them.

Not only do strategic leaders thrive with the actual planning and strategising, but they also love the implementation and overseeing the action that proves their plans. Execution turns all that planning into resource-saving, cost-cutting, efficiency-optimising reality.

What are strategic leadership skills?

Strategic leaders most likely possess at least some of the following skills:

Perspective: Strategic leaders can see as widely as they can think deeply, allowing them to take in the big picture and rework the organisation accordingly.

Analytical: Working with data helps solidify many objectives and prove whether the business is meeting them. A whole business can have tons of points to measure when it comes to data, and it takes the right kind of mind to absorb and process all that information.

Communication: A must for any leader, strategic leaders need good communication skills to translate their big thinking to others, and perhaps distilling it to make their plans more readily digestible for those who don’t share their analytical mindset.

Vision: Similar but distinct from having perspective, leaders with vision can see what’s ahead and what might occur in future. They can not only see where a business is going, but where it might be going if changes in direction are made. This allows them to look ahead and plot the best course.

What are the six components of strategic leadership?

Ireland and Hitt (2005) suggested six main components to strategic leadership and competitiveness in regard to business.

  1. Determine the organisation’s purpose or vision
  2. Exploit or maintain core competencies
  3. Develop human capital
  4. Sustain an effective organizational culture
  5. Emphasise ethical practices
  6. Establish balanced organizational controls

What is an example of strategic leadership?

Business leaders such as Jeff Bezos epitomise strategic leadership. During his time as CEO of Amazon, he brought the company’s stock levels up 225,000%. In his 1997 letter to shareholders, he makes his vision clear: ‘it’s all about the long term’.

Aiming for a strong future rather than unstable short-term gains is the perfect example of how strategic leadership can benefit a business.

What makes a good strategic leader?

A good strategic leader possess a wide range of qualities that benefit their organisation and the people working within it.

Good strategic leaders:

  • Collaborate well with colleagues and stakeholders
  • Communicate clearly and in a timely manner
  • Envision the future and see where they want the organisation to go
  • Passionate about the business and its potential
  • Innovative and able to turn an obstacle into an advantage

…and so much more.

Why is strategic leadership important to an organisation?

Some organisations sit in turbulent markets that are constantly changing and expanding. Strategic thinkers thrive in environments where their planning and careful execution bring out the full potential of an organisation.

Using our previous example of Amazon, it took the company nine years after being founded to turn a profit, yet strategic leadership has brought it up into one of the most profitable businesses ever.

Learning strategic leadership

If strategic leadership sounds like an amazing edge to your organisation, you’re in luck. Team Academy’s leadership training can supercharge your leadership with fresh skills and a vibrant new perspective. You’ll walk in without a clue what we have in store, and you’ll leave as a whole new person.

To find out more about our amazing leadership training, contact us today.

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