What makes Leadership Strategic?
In my Strategic Business Mindset Academy, we couple Strategic along with Leadership to emphasize the importance of reflection, planning, and courage it takes to be the best leader you can be – to be an effective leader, to be the leader your team, and your business need you to be.
Effective Leadership, Strategic Leadership begins with YOU – with each and every one of us individually.
It begins with understanding your core values and what you stand for as a leader and how you live those core values. This takes reflection to get to the heart of the matter – not just parroting what seems to be the expected or stock answers to that question, “what do you stand for?” In today’s business and cultural climate, the concept of taking stock, and reflecting for clarity on our individual and company core values is more vital than ever. See Taking a Stand, an earlier blog on this topic.
How you lead the team and the company with those values – to demonstrate, not just espouse them on a plaque on the wall or on a mission statement in a binder on the bookshelf. This takes intentional planning to go along with reflection.
Employee retention and engagement are two concerns that most business leaders are struggling within the current business climate. This is a costly problem for businesses. It gets expensive to recruit, train, and allow for ramp up time for actual productivity from new staff – and then to start the process all over again in the face of turnover.
Plan ways to involve your team, to find out how you are doing in demonstrating and leading with the core values. Look at a combination of tools: internal surveys, employee resource group discussions, structured conversations, informal discussions, and systems to gather anonymous suggestions and feedback. Plan ways to build and maintain trust among the team and with all levels of leadership.
It takes courage to expand your perspective – to be brave enough to question the way you have always thought about things, the beliefs you hold. It is a daring leader who initiates and facilitates crucial conversations – and takes actions that build trust.
Consider actions that really matter with the team, customers, and then the community. Brene Brown says, “Daring leaders who live into their own values are never silent on hard things.”
In the wake of the grocery store shootings in Buffalo, NY that specifically targeted people of color, the church massacre targeting members of the Korean community, as well as the mass shooting at the Texas elementary school, people are hurting and afraid. Our employees are likely feeling this too. As leaders, it is so hard to know what to say. It is tempting to go about business as usual and not to bring up these tragic events at work. This is when it takes courage to bring it up – not from a point of solution, or resolution, but to let your teams know that you too are struggling and to offer support to them. Listen – don’t try to fix it.
If your company values operating as a team or taking care of your people, this is an opportunity to demonstrate that you mean it. Take the time to acknowledge the suffering and provide an opportunity if anyone has anything they would like to say – to have a safe space to express what is on their mind – or to ask for support for something they are facing – related to the recent tragedies or not. Bringing this level of human connection and not burying your head in the sand is what builds trust and compassion.
Tap into Reflection, Planning, and Courage to be the leader your team, your company, and your community needs. My dream and my work is for improved cohesion, collaboration, and connection within companies, organizations, and communities. Reach out to me for more information on strategic leadership and bringing your team together for effective communication and facilitated safe conversations. KEllet@thegrowthcoach.com