In this era, the business world seems to have changed more rapidly and drastically. The emergence of technology, competition, globalization and the rise of Asian market have reshaped the business environment. One way that organizations can use to deal with the complex and the ever-changing environment is by having experienced and well-developed individuals with leadership abilities. A leader is an individual who can influence a group of people towards attaining goals (Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2014). Besides, strategic leadership involves providing people with direction and inspiration that would help to create and sustain the organization. Strategic leadership allows people to make decisions that would enhance the organization’s long-term viability while maintaining its short-term financial stability (Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2014). The paper will examine and analyze strategic leadership by outlining its positive sides and opportunities for improvement. In addition, we shall look at the most effective type of leadership that would fit my company.
Strategic Leadership Experience
When I was working as an intern in Coca-Cola Company, the Chief Executive Officer exhibited a strategic leadership style. I considered the CEO of Coca-Cola Company as a versatile leader because of the way he recognized employees in the company, concentrated on ways to challenge them and use his abilities to form and implement strategies. Such leaders perceive vision as a product of communication between them and employees who perform the task (Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2014). Moreover, the company’s CEO was an incredible visionary person who expected the company to generate revenue growth with significant profit growth. For instance, during a discussion on the company’s progress the CEO told senior managers that he wanted the growth of revenue to triple and profit to more than triple within four years. Fortunately, the organization achieved this goal in three years and one could wonder how they did it. The company started manufacturing products that create value in the minds of the customers, and it was greater than what they anticipated. The CEO wanted employees to implement such a strategy at a profit. The long-term vision of Coca-Cola has been to deliver products that would result in global prosperity and would last for many years.
The CEO was focused and rewarded creativity of employees. He was ready to accept innovative solutions to the various problems the company was experiencing. Moreover, the valuing proactive thinking was one of the traits the CEO portrayed. Since the relationship in the organization and that between employees and customers is critical in determining the performance of organization, being a strategic leader, the CEO used to interact with organization’s key stakeholders to ensure that there are healthy relationships. Besides, by connecting to people around him, the organization had strong performance expectations. The ability of the leader to balance the organization’s short-term and long-term strategic requirements resulted in the organization creating the most wealth. On the same note, vision, creativity, and energy played a role in reinventing the organization and improving its performance. The CEO got a boost from the organization’s strong managerial and operational understanding.
Analysis of a Strategic Leader
Effective strategic leaders focus on many activities that contribute to the performance of the organization, and they include the following. First, a strategic leader determines strategic direction by developing a clear vision for the organization. Precisely, tasks of a strategic leader include developing, articulating and communicating about the distinctive features of the company and reasons for its existence (Schoemaker, Krupp & Howland, 2013). By determining the vision of the organization, employees would be able to develop and execute strategies that are consistent with the organization’s vision. Moreover, the vision of the organization tends to push and stretch employees beyond what they expect.
Second, strategic leaders demonstrate the responsibility of exploiting and maintaining core competencies. The organization uses these are resources to gain a competitive advantage over rivals (Schoemaker, Krupp & Howland, 2013). Therefore, the task of the strategic leader is to understand the combination of resources and capabilities that would result in a better outcome. They have to determine the resources that are rare, difficult to substitute, costly to imitate and valuable. The senior management in the organization must ensure that the resources and capabilities are part of the competitive strategy of the organization (Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2014). Some of the constructive pressure on employees by strategic leaders includes the following. They nurture a result-oriented environment, promote an enabling culture, set objective and expectations and promote benchmarking, Six Sigma and business process reengineering.
Third, the effectiveness of strategic leaders is portrayed in human capital development. Human capital entails employee’s knowledge and skills. Inspired employees play a critical role in the successfulness of the organization (Schoemaker, Krupp & Howland, 2013). Therefore, strategic leaders invest in employees through mentoring and training programs to get the best out of them. Moreover, strategic leaders build human capital by providing support and financial assistance. Fourth, strategic leaders engage in sustaining an effective organizational structure. Besides, an organizational culture portrays the personality of the organization. It entails core values, traditions, beliefs work practices and style of operations (Schoemaker, Krupp & Howland, 2013). Since the culture of the organization can be the source of its competitive advantage, a strategic leader will use such opportunity to shape values, symbols, beliefs and traditions of the organization so that it becomes more competitive in the industry.
Fifth, strategic leaders emphasize on ethical practices (Rowe, 2001). According to Iszatt-White and Saunders (2014), an organization with a strong ethical foundation and a culture that advocates ethical behaviors improves the effectiveness of strategies implementation. Similarly, senior managers who employ trust, honesty and integrity in their decision-making process inspire employees to focus on creating an organizational culture that encourages ethical activities. In situations when the organization does not have an ethical culture, the management and employees would exhibit opportunistic acts and take advantage of their various positions in the organization for their self-interest. Therefore, it is important if senior management demonstrates ethical behavior so that the junior staff may follow. For instance, strategic leaders encourage ethical practices in the organization by developing and communicating a code of ethics, providing ethics training to staffs and request employees to report any cases of possible infractions.
Sixth, strategic leaders, play a role in establishing a balanced organizational control. Organizational control involves formal procedures the management uses to influence and guide the operation in the organization (Schoemaker, Krupp & Howland, 2013). Precisely, organizational controls such as strategic and financial limit employees on tasks they should handle. Regarding strategic control, it focuses on actions while financials control focuses on outcomes. Therefore, strategic leaders have the role to ensure that they incorporate strategic and financial controls to establish balanced organizational control to give employees an opportunity to remain flexible and innovative.
Some of the opportunities for improvement include the following. First, regarding a clear vision of the organization, strategic leaders should take their time to explain to employees how his vision will improve the performance of the organization and benefit them in return. The strategic leader should involve the team in the strategic planning process so that they can provide feedback that would help improve the vision of the company. Second, a strategic leader should embrace an innovative mindset (Schoemaker, Krupp & Howland, 2013). Organizations that are innovative often report a higher profit, retain a significant number of employees and take the best position in a competitive market. The strategic leader can create an innovative mindset by challenging status quo, encouraging employees to be creative and asking probing questions. Similarly, a strategic leader can engage in creative thinking.
Third, strategic leaders should demonstrate an effective communication. The vision and strategies of the organization can fail if senior management does not communicate them well. Therefore, strategic leaders should determine the target audience and disseminate different messages. The way a strategic leader communicates to senior management, customer service representative or subordinate staff varies. Fourth, strategic leaders should motivate other people to greatness. A good leader is one who recognizes greatest values of each person and includes them in his sphere of influence (Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2014). Therefore, a leader will demonstrate such a trait going beyond and identify those with insights and compassion.
The most Effective Type of Leader
In my opinion, the type of leader that would be effective for my company is a strategic leader. I chose a strategic leader because I have experienced working under strategic leadership and the kind of leadership skills portrayed by senior manager was outstanding. Some of the reasons that make strategic leadership phenomenal include the following. First, the focus of a strategic leader is both on the daily operations of the organization and its long-term strategic orientation (Rowe, 2001). A strategic leader would neither ignore any of those if they want the organization to be successful. Second, a strategic leader demonstrates strong positive expectations of the organizational performance they expect from employees, senior management and himself (Rowe, 2001). Such expectations contribute to short-term stability and long-term viability of the company since members of the organization are encouraged to voluntarily make decisions.
The management and the success of an organization depend on the leadership practiced. Moreover, there is a relationship between the performance of the company’s CEO and senior management and the success of the organization. As an intern in Coca-Cola, I experienced strategic leadership. Strategic leaders determining strategic direction, establish balanced organizational controls, exploit core competences, emphasize on ethical practices and develop human capital. Moreover, they sustain organizational culture. The most effective leadership style that would fit my company is strategic leadership.
Iszatt-White, M., & Saunders, C. (2014). Leadership. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rowe, W. G. (2001). Creating wealth in organizations: The role of strategic leadership. The Academy of Management Executive, 15(1), 81-94.
Schoemaker, P. J., Krupp, S., & Howland, S. (2013). Strategic leadership: The essential skills. Harvard business review, 91(1), 131-134.