A strategic leader is good at developing and executing strategy, while a truly great strategic leader is able to inspire and guide their team members at thinking strategically about their own roles and responsibilities. Typically, we think of team members as the people who primarily execute tactical operations and complete pre-determined tasks and assignments. Yet, imagine what your team could accomplish if team members were not only fulfilling their operational responsibilities, but also be strategic within their own areas of contribution. I believe that some excellent strategic leaders may be operating under the notion that strategic thinking and planning is only for them to do. But, I believe that if everyone in the organization was thinking and acting strategically within their own roles and responsibilities—the results would be striking. Here are a few ideas that might help you lead and guide your team members into a mindset of strategic leadership:
- Discuss strategic topics in regular meetings.
- Encourage and reward challenging the status quo.
- Share your own strategic targets and how they align with the organization.
- When solving problems or making decisions, explain or discuss how it will impact the team or organization long-term and strategically.
- Help each team member set their own strategic targets that are aligned with your strategies and the organization’s strategies.
While operational pressures will certainly divert the attention of team members—getting them to think and invest in the future will begin to make a remarkable difference for you and the team as a whole. Buck Rodgers said, “Leadership is the ability of a single individual through his or her actions to motivate others to higher levels of achievement.” I believe that strategic leadership requires a leader not only be good at strategic execution, but also at helping others reach higher levels of achievement by thinking and acting strategically in their own way.