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Characteristics of a Strategic Leader: do you have them?

By Molly Carnicom on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 @ 11:11 AM |


LeaderIt’s bright and early Monday morning and you have a never-ending to do list to complete. Some of these tasks are left over from last week; some are day-to-day items and others may require more of your attention. You rank them in importance and start plugging away. At the end of the day, you look down and feel as though you have made it nowhere.  Whether you are at the top of the organization or just entered it, now is the time to evaluate your approach and become a strategic leader.

I know what you are thinking: How do I make this happen? Great question. You may be hesitant to adapt to the lifestyle of a strategic leader in fear you will not succeed. But I assure you, being a strategic leader for your company will lead you to bigger and better opportunities. Paul J. H. Schoemaker provides us with ‘6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers’:

  • Anticipate – quit looking at what is currently in front of you and start looking towards the horizon
  • Think Critically – question everything. Challenge current mindsets and disregard the norm
  • Interpret – uncertainty is not cool and neither is the incorrect solution. Gather information before developing a perspective
  • Decide – build processes and be sure to maintain as well as enforce them
  • Align – not everyone will agree all the time. Keep the conversation open, build trust and incorporate key people even when it is an uncomfortable conversation
  • Learn – push for honest feedback from your people, even if it is ugly

So, what are you waiting for? Time to start exercising these habits. Failing to do this will lead your company down the wrong path. Think you are alone? Guess again. Every company needs to have one if not more strategic leader(s) providing guidance, making critical decisions, and keeping the company aligned. If you look around and don’t see one, become one. You’ll quickly establish yourself as the one people look at to bring them along. Not sure where to start and super overwhelmed? Evaluate where your skills in these six areas are now and go from there. See where you meet the criteria and where you fall short.

How do you exercise strategic leadership? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Strategic Leader