When we hear about strategic leadership, we only use to think about the set of strategies and practices established for a company or organization. There is nothing wrong with that, but here in this article I want to do a short reflection about the advantages of being a strategic leader at the individual level.
To distinguish yourself from the corporate crowd and reach the top of the chain of command, it is not enough for the leader to have all the traditional set of skills and abilities. It takes a little bit more than that.
You still need to be honest, take responsibility for the actions of your team, knowing how to motivate your staff, have the ability to influence and lead by example. To all this you must add a new important feature: the ability to think and act strategically.
There is a cliché in the business culture that tend to recognizes the strategic leader as one who has great ideas, talk a lot, is charismatic But in the end reaches very few practical results. To gather respect as a true strategic leader you need to work in conducts that accomplish the tension between achieve the routine daily tasks and the success in the long term. You must facilitate other’s strategic activities, too, by providing an equilibrium of management and independence, of learning from actions and rewarding appropriate risk-taking. You also need mastering three critical areas:
Have a clear vision: As a leader, you always need to have clear to yourself a picture of what your goals will look like at a particular point in the future. Therefore, you have the starting point – right here, right now – and a finish point too. Your job, now, is to create the strategies and find the best ways to turn your vision in reality. Charles Araujo, founder and CEO of The IT Transformation Institute says, “When you can clearly articulate your vision, it starts to become real and tangible … and what you must do to realize that vision starts to become clearer and clearer.”
Establish your mission: There are no secrets here. Your mission is your professional goal. It is everything that you do more goals that your company – or your team – are intended to achieve. Do not let nothing divert your attention from what really matters. You also need to understand with absolute clarity the mission of your team and your company. This is an essential requirement for start thinking strategically.
Get things done: You already have your mission and have established a clear vision of the future. As a strategic leader in fact, you now need to ask to yourself these questions: Can you execute on your vision? Are you able to lead your team from the starting point (Point A) to the finish point (Point B) without hesitation? Your strategic plan is the roadmap to guide you through this way. If you cannot put your plan into action, then all you have is a worthless strategy.
To be a strategic leader is, in fact, always have the answers for these three questions: why am I here; where am I going; what do I need to do to get there. If you are able to answer these questions honestly, you will be becoming a true strategic leader and walk your way to the top of the mountain. The effort will be worth it.