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I teach a “Strategic Thinking for Leaders” workshop. Near the beginning of the session I ask what participants think are the characteristics of a Strategic Leader. What follows is an interesting discussion on what it means to be strategic.
The characteristics of strategic leaders usually fall into these categories:
Seeing the big picture – A strategic leader looks beyond the day-to-day and creates a clear direction for everyone to follow. This leader doesn’t get bogged down in the details, but trusts that someone on the team is ensuring the details are worked on. They use strategic thinking.
Good communicator – A strategic leader doesn’t have to be a great communicator, but they must communicate regularly, and share a clear direction. Translating the strategy into language that the team can understand is one of the keys to good communication. A strategic leader listens to feedback from many sources and acts on it.
Delegate – No micromanaging for strategic leaders! They monitor that the team is moving in the right direction and gives them flexibility (within guidelines) to decide on how they are going to get there.
Always learning – Reading, taking courses, asking questions and learning from mistakes (theirs and others). Strategic leaders realize that without continuous learning they can grow stale quickly.
Fearless – A strategic leader tackles tough issues and isn’t afraid to make decisions. Of course, strategic leaders listen to their people so sometimes they change those decisions. And those decisions are always aligned with the direction of the organization.
Strategic leaders have a variety of experiences and backgrounds, but they all have these five characteristics in common.
I’d love to hear what you think the characteristics of a strategic leader are.
If you’d like to be even more strategic as a leader, contact me at Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com. We can talk about leadership coaching.
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