13 FEBRUARY, 2023


Cultivating strategic leadership in your organisation is important to ensure that employee decisions align with your company’s vision. Leadership comes in many forms, but making strategic leadership your company’s backbone can steer it towards success. The importance of strategic leadership

The importance of strategic leadership

The strategic skills of a leader coupled with effective communication can influence employees to make choices that are financially and operationally better for the organisation. Nurturing these skills among your employees, especially top-line executives, will give you the resources required to formulate and execute organisation-wide strategies. Leadership is diverse, but bringing in a foundation of strategic planning can help every department.

Developing strategic leadership skills

As a strategic leader, it is imperative to have the skills and ability to plan, lead, and most importantly, align with the wider organisational strategy. It essential to evaluate and assess what resources are on hand and execute this strategy in the most effective way possible.

Organisational leadership

Strategic leadership is often synonymous with organisational leadership as it carries out the organisation’s strategy and aligns with team members. Strategic leaders must have the tools and emotional intelligence to bring the company’s long-term vision and short-term goals to the forefront, coupled with excellent decision-making skills. While a strategy might be set in stone, the route to getting there will not be linear. As such, a strategic leader must have an adaptive and agile mindset to overcome changes and hurdles.

People management skills

To execute the company’s strategic vision, it’s pivotal to have the right people management skills. Communication forms the primary pillar, and excellent, empathetic listening is a key facet. Such leaders have a high emotional quotient that enables team building and goal setting. By combining these elements, a leader can successfully carry out effective performance management, and draw out the best in their team.

Personal development

To be a strategic leader, an essential element is constant development. Employees must be willing to learn and improve. This includes challenging themselves and not accepting the status quo.

Furthermore, it’s important to analyse and point out areas of improvement. They must learn from clients, their teams, and other stakeholders to dechipher any potential roadblocks, dive deeper, and ascertain solutions on how to fix them. Strategic leaders should take the reigns by attending industry-related seminars and networking with like-minded individuals.

How to engage employees in strategic planning and leadership

After becoming aware of the skills that cultivate strategic leaders, the next step is actioning them and developing strategic leadership in your organisation. As with any other skill, training, development, and measurement are important tools to check if you are on the right path.

Easily accessible training programs

Effective employee training programs are essential for developing strategic leaders and helping the right candidates think from a strategic and planning perspective. Leadership development programs and coaching programs encourage creative thinking, find the best way to implement strategic goals, and help employees take the reigns without letting others control their decision-making process.

The training can be delivered in several forms, right from online courses to in-person expert seminars. If they are online, it is imperative to make them accessible and easy to use otherwise employees would lose interest pretty quickly.

Coaching or mentoring programs can be scheduled on a one-to-one basis. Employees who have already been trained in strategic leadership and have excelled in its application can mentor aspiring candidates.

Allocating resources and tasks

Task-based activities give potential strategic leaders an outlet to experience what they have learnt through training on the job. Stretch assignments, or short-term projects that are meant to offer learning and experience to employees, are an excellent  tool for developing strategic leaders.

Workshops are also a practical outlet, where candidates must lead teams to achieve a certain objective. These task-focused resources enable employees to analyse what went right or wrong and work on bettering themselves for more important projects. Solving-real life case studies together can also give your employees a sense of how strategic leadership can be applied in their daily work scenarios.

Make sure to document every piece of learning, as the knowledge of today is essential for tomorrow. Even if an employee were to leave, their knowledge would remain and help new employees.

Organisation-wide empowerment

How to improve strategic planning? By empowering teams to accept strategic leaders and instilling a culture of learning and experimentation. A feasible way to implement this is creating cross-functional teams from key departments in the organisation, including employees prepped to become strategic leaders.

For strategic leadership to truly unleash its potential, an organisation shouldn’t work in silos. If this occurs, each department will only work on its KPIs or goals, and lose sight of the larger vision of the company. Cross-functional teams bring representatives from different departments together who can strategically lead the organisation forward.

Monitoring performance through KPIs

Once strategic leadership skills are developed, the next step is establishing goals and performance metrics. Leaders of this kind aren’t satisfied without feedback for self-improvement and tend to ask questions that can help them grow further. You could establish actionable performance metrics that tie back to strategic leadership and include these in year-end reviews.

Auditing is another tool to monitor performance. There should be a standardised audit for each department, and if a team isn’t producing the results they should, an analysis will be necessary. Integrity and transparency have a large role to play. Strategic leaders must lay out both their successes and failures on the table and learn from both.

Are you trying to develop strategic leadership skills in your company?

Developing leaders to take your company’s vision forward doesn’t have to be a challenging process. At DeakinCo. we believe that every employee has a specific leadership style and some might be much more attuned to strategic leadership. Let us help you evaluate your personnel and develop a plan that nurtures strategy, planning, and leadership in your organisation.  Contact us for further information.