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Strategic Leadership Competencies – Strategic vs. Operational Leadership
Strategic leaders need a different set of skills from those of operational leaders. To effectively lead the operations of a business, a leader must be an expert in their functional area, manage a team’s execution of the plan, and meet short-term goals.

Strategic leaders, however, need not only to meet current business targets, but also to set up the business for future success. Strategic leaders must see the big picture, work at a higher level, and envision and implement meaningful organizational change.

Leading Strategically in Times of Chaos
A strategic leader’s challenge is significantly greater when the environment is disrupted. When the future is so unprecedentedly uncertain, organizations must rely upon the skills of our strategic leaders even more critically than before.

Three Competencies of Effective Strategic Leaders
Especially in turbulent times, the best strategic leaders are able to:

  1. Encourage Innovative Thinking
    The best strategic thinkers are always open to new ways of thinking. They eagerly invite experts to share their wisdom, and they are motivated to try new approaches. Strategic leaders are also not afraid of controversy because, in the airing of diverse opinions, they may learn something new.

    Do your leaders encourage collaboration, constructive debate, alternative viewpoints, and delight in examining and testing different scenarios?

  2. Act in a Timely Manner
    Strategic leaders have a bias toward action. They are not afraid to make decisions and take actions that align with the organization’s strategic direction. Leaders who isolate themselves for weeks in an ivory tower as they refine a strategic plan are likely to miss critical opportunities.

    Strategic leaders, on the other hand, value flexibility, learn by doing, and adjust as they go.

  3. Inspire Key Stakeholders to Commit to the Strategy
    Too many strategic initiatives fail for lack of commitment from senior management and their teams. Strategic leaders inspire others with their vision of the future and motivate their followers to commit their time, energy, and expertise to see the change through.

The Bottom Line
Does your organization foster the kind of strategic leadership required to thrive during chaos? Perilous times require daring, innovative leaders and organizational cultures that allow employees to thrive. Start by finding strategic leaders who exhibit the unique skills that can support your organization’s long-term success.

To learn more about strategic leadership competencies to thrive during chaos, download A New Way to Think About Change Agility: The Agile Organization

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