Why You Need a Leadership Strategy

July 10, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

Maybe the most crucial responsibilities of all senior executives in global companies is preparing a new generation of leaders that will continue and expand the strategic reach of the companies they currently head. Being ‘built to last’ needs frequent renewal, and this renewal is usually based upon leaders continuing to develop themselves and their successors.

Leadership and learning play a critical role in allowing organizational growth and transformation– and inevitably strategic success. Great strategies identifies an organization’s current reality as well as its desired vision — exactly what it needs to establish and exactly how it needs to change in order to successfully compete and achieve its business goals.

The gap between current reality and the desired destination can be filled by increasing personal leadership competency in addition to building organizational capabilities. A complete and well-developed strategic approach will consist of direction on the actions to be taken to develop leaders and which leadership skills and behaviors these leaders and managers need in order to fill the gap and thrust their organization to its desired future destination.

A leadership strategy makes explicit just how many leaders we need, of exactly what kind, where, with exactly what abilities, and behaving in what fashion independently and together to accomplish the complete success we look for.

A really good leadership strategy takes all of these aspects into account. Just having all of the leadership positions on the company chart filled will certainly not generate the leadership that is needed to successfully implement strategy, adjust to change, support innovation or some other crucial organizational agendas. It is not just having the right number of bodies, it is exactly what those bodies do and how they associate with one another that matters.Hence, when we describe the leadership of a company, at a minimum we should consider:

  • The amount of leaders required, as indicated by existing and projected formal leadership positions
  • The qualities desired in option (demographics, diversity, background, experience level)
  • The skills and behavior that are needed to implement the business strategy and develop the wanted culture (abilities, proficiencies, knowledge base)
  • The cumulative leadership capacities of pioneers acting together in groups and across borders to implement techniques, solve problems, respond to risks, adapt to alter, support innovation, etc

The capability of an organization to complete its goals does not depend solely on the force of will of a single fantastic leader, or even upon the efficiency of the organization’s pecking order. These things are very important, but do not in and of themselves help us understand why some organizations prosper where others fail.

Instead, research has shown, we must recognize the leadership culture, as determined by the collective actions of official and casual leaders acting together to affect organizational success. It is not just the number or quality of personal leaders that identifies organizational success, however the capability of official and informal leaders to pull together in the support of organizational goals that inevitably makes the distinction.Organizational leadership is a strategic issue and requires a strategic response. Not doing that runs the risks of wasting your investment in leadership and achieving no constructive impact.

Graham Hart is a Director with leadership by Design a consultancy committed to fostering increased leadership impact the workplace For more information on developing leadership skills and leadership and management programs check out their website leadership by design

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