Monday, September 28, 2020

Strategic leadership

Are you willing to follow -- or be led by -- a  leader who can't do the job you're doing?

What I'm speaking of is the distinction between the strategic leader and the operational leader
  • The strategic leader is the visionary -- usually -- but most importantly is the leader that connects all the dots in the long game; allocates resources strategically; causes integration to occur for the benefit of the far future. 
  • The operational leader leads by example -- can step in and do your job if necessary; more tactical and willing to make course corrections in the short term. Definitely in touch with the details

A bit tricky, this leadership thing: if you don't think your leader can do your job, do you think they are an "empty suit"? Many pin that label on the strategic leader.

It's not always clear cut:

The strategic person often has to make the tactical call at the cross roads to go this way or that way; or relieve and replace subordinates that are not performing. And, the operational person is going to engage strategic planning and engage with their Board, regardless of their main focus and agenda.

Optimistic v pessimistic

 From the concepts embedded in the "cone of uncertainty", we generally think of strategic people as optimistic in their outlook for the simple reason that the long reach gives time to make things right.

The flip side: the press of immediate actions -- and problems -- makes the operational leader more pessimistic

Situational leadership style

From the concepts of "situational leadership", we generally think of the strategic leader as the delegation person: give the tacticians all the rope they need and stand back. If they fail, replace and repeat.

Planning as a methodology

And, the strategic leader is going to put more stock in long range planning. In fact, to the strategist, the planning itself is more important than the plan. As soon as you've got a plan, you're in tactical mode. Let others do the execution.

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