We have reach a point where there is so much information available on the internet, that it’s almost useless. Granted, it’s great to be able to google things and get all kinds of articles, videos, podcasts and more. It’s overwhelming, to say the least. And there are several dangers: How do you know if the information is correct? What is the intent behind this information? And do you have sufficient context and skill to actually use it effectively?
Be aware of the different contexts of Leadership
There are endless articles about leadership. It seems to be one of the key buzz words of our times. Everyone has an opinion! And the truth is – leadership is a very broad concept. And within that concept, there are many different facets and purpose. So beware of the “one size fits all” approach. Any short article that tries to generalize leadership and “you just have to do these 3 things” approach is not going to be useful.
What is Strategic Leadership?
Again, this term can sometimes be generalized. The context to which I am using it involves the application of Strategic Thinking and Management techniques in the workplace. So why didn’t I just use the term “Strategic Management”? First of all – I find there is much confusion in the way people use the terms management and leadership. In fact, I am concerned that there is a downplaying of the importance of management, and a reverence to this idea of a charismatic leader.
The truth is, strategic leadership requires both the structure of management and the vision of leadership. While some articles suggest that you just have to give inspirational speeches and then let people do their own thing – it’s not always a wise idea! After all, some employees respond very well to that kind of freedom. But for many (I would say most!), they need to know what’s expected of them. They need some guidelines and feedback to know that they are going in the right direction.
Check out my previous article on strategic management and leadership for more background.
Beware of buzz words and quick fixes
I also see buzz words that cause confusion – vision, values, culture, goals, strategies, performance measures….. Now these are all very important aspects of strategic management. But they are often used in such a general context as to be meaningless. They suggest a quick fix approach – such as just simply create a new organizational culture and everything falls into place! Without an understanding of the complexities of organizational culture, how they evolve and how to maintain – this isn’t useful information. It’s more likely to lead to confusion and frustration.
How to learn the right approach
It may seem surprising, but I suggest the first place to start is with learning the Performance Management Framework. In my course, I provide in-depth explanation and examples of all the terminology. And most important – how it all fits together! From big picture vision down to day-to-day performance measures – performance management provides a framework to align and integrate all aspects of your organization. When used correctly, you can provide clear direction to employees. As it focuses on RESULTS rather than process, it also provides your employees with the flexibility and autonomy to use their unique skills and ability.
Get started learning Strategic Leadership with a FREE mini course
With all of the offers out there, how do you know which courses are best for you? I could make lots of promises (like everyone else!), but I believe the best way is for you to try out my courses to see for yourself. This short course (1 to 2 hours) on Strategic Communication will give you a sense of my teaching approach. It will also give you some valuable skills to start applying in your workplace immediately!