Strategic Leadership Skills
This article is designed to provide guidance for executives, managers, and specialists, who are involved in developing Leadership Skills for their organisations. It will cover the main areas that are needed to successfully lead an organisation in today’s complex and fast-changing world. We at The Bite size Group strongly advocates this in our training.
The first area that we look at is that of Personal Attributes. This is a blend of knowledge, expertise, and competencies which is encapsulated in the approach and behaviour of a leader. In organisations of all sizes and in all sectors, public and private, these characteristics are key to effective Leadership Skills.
The essential personal attributes are as follows.
By learning about the ethical issues and concerns that impact on your business sector
- Adopting a balanced, open-minded approach to the ethical concerns of others
- Considering the ethical issues and implications of all personal actions and organisational activity
- Raising and discussing ethical issues before proposing or agreeing to decisions
- Resisting pressures from the organisation or its partners to achieve objectives by unethical means.
By learning and understanding how the different functions and layers of the organisation should work together with an understanding of:
- the complexities of, and the changes happening in the external environment so that the organisation can best respond to these
- the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation’s Leadership Skills, and the opportunities and threats facing it
- how the strategic objectives are influenced by all the current and forecast influences that will impact on the organisation
- That the operational objectives and targets are in line with and support the strategic objectives of the organisation
- Being aware of and responding to the behaviour of current and potential competitors.
Supporting Corporate Goals
By helping to create and communicate a vision that can be understood and supported by people at all levels
- Helping others to understand and contribute to the strategic goals
- Giving visible personal support to the strategic direction and specific goals set by the organisation.
By being responsive to messages and signals from the internal and external environments
- Making effective use of communication channels from and to all levels within the organisation
- Pro-actively encourage the exchange of information both within the organisation, and amongst suppliers, customers, and partners
- Listening to others, including those with opposing views, carefully and thoughtfully
- Selecting personal communication styles that are appropriate to the different situations and audiences.
By establishing multiple channels and networks which generate a constant flow of information, from within and outside the organisation
- Regularly and consistently gathering, analysing, challenging, and using the information gathered.
By establishing a consistent approach to the analysis of information
- Drawing on personal experience and knowledge to identify current and potential problems
- Consider a range of solutions before selecting the final one
- Ensuring that the selected decision is feasible, achievable, and affordable
- Considering the impact of the decision on all stakeholders, at all levels, before approving implementation.
Developing Effective Teams
By appreciating the contribution of others, at all levels in the organisation
- Making sure that individuals and teams are kept informed of plans, developments and issues that will affect them
- Ensuring that individual and team development schemes are given appropriate priority
- Providing personal support for the implementation and maintenance of development activities for individuals and teams at all levels.
- And, of course, developing effective Leadership Skills to help and support members in each team
By understanding and responding to personal roles and responsibilities
- Adopting a leading role in initiating action and decision making
- Taking personal responsibility for decisions and actions
- Being properly prepared for involvement in activities and events
- Behaving confident and professional in dealing with change and challenges
- Refusing unreasonable demands, defending, and protecting individuals and teams from unfair or discriminatory actions
- Remaining professional at all times.
Concentrating on Results
By contributing to the establishment of an organisational culture that demands high standards and high levels of performance
- Focusing on objectives and planned outcomes, at all times
- Dealing with issues and problems when they arise
- Planning and scheduling personal work and the work of others in ways which make the best use of available resources
- Delegating appropriately
- Giving personal attention to critical issues and events.
By reflecting regularly on personal performance and progress
- Pro-actively asking for feedback on personal performance
- Changing personal behaviour in the light of feedback received
- Being responsible for your own personal development needs.
Presenting a Positive Image
By adopting a leading role in initiating action and decision making
- Behaving in a professional manner at all times
- Being open-minded and responsive to the needs of others
- Visibly working towards a personal and career development goals
- Adopting an ethical approach to all personal and organisational activity
- Being supportive to colleagues
- Demonstrating fairness and integrity at all times.
These essential attributes are many and difficult to maintain consistently. But they are the attributes needed by, and expected of, our business leaders. The size of the organisation and the business sector is of no consequence. The leaders of all organisations should be role models for others and be visible champions of high standards of professional and ethical behaviour. They should be leaders of whom others in their organisations can be proud of and have Leadership Skills that competitors are envious of.
Not many of these characteristics are instilled in our leaders by default so they have to be learned. And they should then be continuously developed and enhanced. With these personal attributes in place, and being demonstrated in behaviour and actions, business leaders will be more effective and more successful.
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