6 Habits of Strategic Leaders: Do You Have What It Takes?

6 Habits of Strategic Leaders: Do You Have What It Takes?

Is this your leadership style?

You are the boss. You know you need to be more strategic about running your business, but you spend too much time on the day-to-day stuff. Here’s how to become the strategic leader your company needs.

Many businesses start up as a one-man (or woman) operation. Even after you manage to hire staff to look after some essential aspects of the business, you find that from time-to-time, you have to be more hands-on with the business just to keep it afloat.

When you are the owner, the marketer, the sales person, the receptionist and the accountant, you may find yourself resisting “being strategic,” because it sounds like an excuse to slack off when you have other tasks that require your immediate attention.

Many leaders are just like you

Fear not, because you are not alone. Every leader is tempted to deal with what’s directly in front of them because it seems more urgent and concrete.

Unfortunately, doing so often puts your company at risk. While you concentrate on patching up small problems, you miss out on opportunities for growth, or miss the signs that you’re leading the business off a cliff.

It’s hard to be a strategic leader if you don’t know what strategic leaders are supposed to do, so here’s a checklist that will help you determine if you have what it takes to be one.

6 Skills of Strategic Leaders:

There are 6 things that an adaptive strategic leader does well. They…

1. Anticipate

Strategic leaders always anticipate the possibilities and opportunities available to a business. They look ahead. They have what we can call ‘peripheral vision’ and are able to monitor essential information and news related to their industry, and build networks to help them exploit those opportunities.

2. Think Critically

Strategic leaders think critically. They question assumptions. Critical thinking is a way of deciding whether a claim is true, false, sometimes true, or partly true. Critical thinking is essential in guiding and approving organisational decisions, and often useful in finding solutions for operational or HR issues.

3. Interpret

Strategic leaders interpret information and data before making decisions. Efficient decision-making is essential to running a successful business, but so is the accuracy of a solution. Ambiguity and indecision can be unsettling, but the temptation for ‘quick-fixes’ to business problems can backfire. A good strategic leader has the ability to quickly analyse information from multiple sources and their experience before developing a viewpoint.

4. Decide

Strategic leaders don’t fall prey to “analysis paralysis.” The development of processes and enforcement of the processes can often help frame decision-making and in turn empower employees to arrive to suitable decisions without consulting you in every step, leaving you with just the approval of the most important decisions.

5. Align

Strategic leaders know how to build trust with employees and stakeholders, and align differing views; negotiating between parties, knowing that in most situations total consensus is rare. A strategic leader understands what drives other people’s agendas, and is able to assess risk tolerance to communicate accordingly with staff and stakeholders to build necessary support.

6. Learn

Strategic leaders believe in continuous learning. They seek and accept honest feedback from staff and stakeholders, absorbing comments, both positive and negative as constructive criticism. Strategic leaders not only learn from successes and failures of their organisation, they encourage and exemplify honest debriefs, extract lessons from them, celebrate successes and use failures to gain insight for change.

Make Time to Fill In the Gaps in Your Leadership Skillset

So, do you have what it takes to be a strategic leader? Gaps that exist in your skill set can be filled in and you can train yourself to be the strategic leader that your company needs. While you focus on becoming that strategic leader, it might be a thought or a ‘strategic decision’ to outsource the management of your online marketing projects

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