There is no single “right way” to operate a business or poise it for long-term success. Every enterprise is unique, after all. Still, specific approaches transcend these differences, offering near-universal benefits to businesses of all sizes and types. Strategic leadership refers to one such approach to business management that can yield several long-term benefits when properly implemented and executed. Of course, it’s worth noting that the upsides of the strategic leadership approach are contrasted with some downsides, too.
Let’s define strategic leadership and outline its various pros and cons.
What Is Strategic Leadership?
Strategic leadership can be defined as a leadership philosophy that prioritizes the communication and execution of a particular vision via tangible, streamlined actions and processes. In other words, the strategic leader not only generates and clarifies a business’ vision, but also adeptly leads its team toward realizing said vision one step at a time — the best strategic leaders can simultaneously keep the big picture and key details in mind, which is precisely what allows their business to achieve its short- and long-term goals. The leadership skills required for this brand of leadership include strong communication, a focus on culture, judicious deployment of power, self-control, compassion, consistency, loyalty, and strong motivation.
The Plus Sides of Strategic Leadership
There are several potential benefits that come with the strategic leadership approach. First, strategic leaders are able to unite teams, generate buy-in, and keep everyone on the same page, working toward a collective goal. In this way, the strategic leader keeps departments from losing focus or losing touch with one other, which makes it that much easier to move the business forward. Next, strategic leadership establishes a framework for practical decision-making. When goals are clearly communicated, everyone can better contribute to the collective vision. Strategic leadership also facilitates impartial, long-term thinking, filtering daily decisions through the lens of the broader vision. And lastly, the best strategic leaders cultivate commitment among their teams by acting as models for proficiency and practicality. For all these reasons, businesses should consider investing in strategic leadership training for their top talent.
The Setbacks of Strategic Leadership
A strategic leadership approach isn’t a flawless one, of course. As with all long-term processes and goals, there’s no way to know for certain what the business, industry, or economy will look like in the next year, three years, five years, decade, and so on. In this way, long-term strategic thinking can become a significant expense and source of leadership stress, especially if a seemingly solid plan becomes irrelevant in the face of unpredictable changes. This is why strategic leaders must be as flexible as they are visionary. In a similar vein, strategic leaders can get lost in the bigger picture and start neglecting the business’ present issues and needs, which can cause budding problems to go unresolved and eventually interfere with the very vision in question. Ultimately, this lack of attention to the present moment can halt company growth and even result in long-term harm. Strategic leaders that either take too many risks or are too risk-averse can cause the company to miss out on key opportunities.
Developing a Winning Strategy for Your Leaders
Strategic leadership is not inherently good or bad, but rather a tool that can raise a business up for years to come or sink the ship for lack of seeing the iceberg straight ahead, so to speak. Every enterprise must determine its own balanced approach to strategic leadership development so it’s able to safely navigate the current moment while aiming for the bigger goal in the distance.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.