Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

What is Strategic Leadership?

5 Comments

Guest post by Sarah Rawson

Throughout the ages, leaders and followers alike have wondered whether the process of leadership depends on inborn traits or whether it can be taught. Great leaders are either born or trained. Still, some people who strive for leadership never quite achieve it. This leads many people to believe that there must be some factors out of a person’s control.

For people who fear that they were not born a leader, hope is not lost. Leadership skills can be taught. Through education and the learning of new leadership strategies, people can understand what it takes to lead a group. Strategic leadership is particularly popular as a concept in emerging businesses, or any business looking for a competitive advantage. Through strategic leadership, a leader can guide a group or company through transitions, suggest creative yet practical ideas, see the big picture, and build relationships with other teams and organizations.

What is different about strategic leadership?
In general, a leader gives directions, organizes, and delegates. But a strategic leader does all of the above with a core focus on strategy. Businesses without long-term goals, a clear strategy and good communication between departments struggle to thrive. With strategic leaders in your company, who have achieved a strategic leadership education, you can ensure your company thrives instead of being forced to grow without a strategy. Operating without clear strategy could ultimately leave you with the potential to be doomed to failure. Strategic leaders must be able to select talent and encourage people in their teams to learn and grow each year through developing additional skills in line with the company strategy, taking on challenging tasks in order to increase their on-the-job education, and so on.

Leaders that Change the Game
Kevin Panozza started a SalesForce in Australia out of the ashes of a failed airline he used to work for. Starting with just 10 staff, he built the company into over 5000 staff in just 12 years, serving various high profile clients. Where call centers are notoriously known for their low morale and high staff turnover, Kevin decided to follow a non traditional strategy with regards to his employees. He ditched the corporate dress code and formalities and created a casual yet focused and staff-centered work environment, which vastly contributed to staff morale and the success of his company.

Steve Jobs is another strategic leader who’s absence was sorely felt when he originally left Apple. On his return the whole climate changed, and the company returned to regain it’s coveted position. Larry Page and Sergey Brin also took Google to great heights by employing strategic leadership. Furthermore, what all the above-mentioned leaders had in common is that they were never shy of bringing in speakers and coaches to train their staff, to push them further and to foster a culture of leaders within their respective organizations.

Can anyone be a strategic leader?
While you might not be what some people consider a natural-born leader, you are still able to learn to be a strategic leader. Education in strategic leadership, including seminars, short courses, and even Master’s in Strategic Leadership programs, will enable you to succeed in leadership contexts. Your focus will be on creating value within the businesses or companies where you work – and not just monetarily, but in less tangible measures such as in talent and drive. If this sounds exciting, you have the potential to be a strategic leader.

What can you do with strategic leadership skills?
Once you have developed the capacity to lead while keeping the big picture in mind, these talents can be applied anywhere from the home to the largest businesses in the world. You’ll be a calmer and happier person when you are not concerned about your leadership skills. This will have the effect of relaxing your team, which can help them do better in their jobs. You will be able to encourage great performance out of people in all areas of life while ensuring everyone is in touch with what is going on.

How do you learn about strategic leadership?
Books and short courses only go so far. If you have completed an undergraduate education, you may wish to pursue this field as a way to lead or improve your leadership, learn about effective decision-making, and develop life skills applicable to other contexts. Even if you have been working full-time, you can go back to school.

Schools worldwide offer various forms of Master’s programs designed for career professionals who want to enhance their abilities. Strategic leadership skills are useful in all areas of your life, and by developing these skills you can grow as a professional and as a person.

Sarah Rawson is a freelance writer and is also studying for her MS in Strategic Management. Her articles appear on various higher education blogs.


The Product Management Perspective: Leadership is the key to successful product management. Eric Hoffer says it well: “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” Always have a learning mindset. Be strategic in your role as product manager.

About these ads

5 thoughts on “What is Strategic Leadership?

  1. Learning the techniques of strategic leadership are not enough.

    A leader also needs to develop the required cognitive agility to be able to cope with the increasing complexity from the operational, through the tactical, to the corporate strategy. Dr Elliot Jacques mapped the type of thinking required and more recently Dr Robert Kegan has done a lot of work how leaders can develop their cognition.

    Leadership development needs to move beyond just learning knowledge and incorporate more self-development. Otherwise leaders will be using strategic tools to make poor decisions.

  2. Pingback: What is Strategic Leadership? « Arshad Parvez

  3. Hi,
    Your article is quite informative and resourceful in the context of an aware leadership managing an organization or a company. There are certain areas leaders tend to ignore or are not able to comprehend enough to classify them as potential risk to the organization. The one area, which tops the list, is the inability to assess measure and improve the productivity of the employees in the organization. Your article definitely highlights the issues and solutions related to a vigilant leadership.
    Please visit our blogs to share your views with us

    http://goo.gl/aLTQP

    Thanks and Regards,
    Ruhi Desai,
    Senior Business Development Manager @ Sapience Analytics Pvt Ltd

  4. Pingback: 100 Exemplary Sites for Future Leaders | LEAPS MANAGEMENT CONSULTING

  5. Hi Sarah

    I read your article with interest. You certainly know your stuff and came up with quite a few points I had not even considered.

    I wonder could I ask your opinion about something.

    Considering the high costs involved, how effective do you think a short two day strategic leadership and management course can be in developing the necessary skills to run a large organisation.

    Many thanks for your time.

    Mike Starr

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,213 other followers