The Importance of Developing a Leadership Strategy in Times of Change
Whether it’s your social life, family or career, one thing you can count on is the consistency of change. It’s one of the biggest inevitables we come across in our short time on this earth – and something we must be willing to embrace and adapt to if we want to make the most of every moment. The story is no different when it comes to developing a leadership strategy in times of change. Whether it be a global pandemic, a company restructuring or a merger, a leadership strategy is crucial if you want to manage shifts and times of uncertainty.
When we talk about building strategies for leadership development, it’s about making a plan for guiding a team that also allows space for change to occur naturally. To make this happen, you must be well-equipped with the tools and know-how to achieve organizational goals.
In this article, we’ll explore what a leadership strategy is, why it’s important and how to implement one in your workplace. By embracing the potential for change, you can harness its power.
Defining a Leadership Strategy
There are many ways you can show leadership skills in a situation where guidance and decisiveness are required. However, it all boils down to the same thing – you have to have a set of initiatives and a plan. A leadership strategy is exactly that: a plan that aligns leadership with the aspirations and goals of a group. This strategy should inspire creativity, evoke an emotional connection to the mission and motivate the team to work hard together.
Your approach to creating a leadership development strategy must consider your audience and how they will best respond to your leadership style. Examples of leadership strategies include the following:
- Establishing the organization’s vision and communicating it clearly
- Showing how much you value your employees
- Displaying transparency and honesty to build a sense of trust within the group
Let’s take a look at the first example and break it down. If your leadership strategy is to establish your organization’s vision and communicate it clearly, the first step would be to identify the objectives and the desired outcomes of your work. Be sure to gain input from employees, and any key personnel so they can understand and feel connected to the vision.
With a clear vision, staff will understand their role in making team objectives possible. As a result, your people will be more in sync with the rest of the team and feel motivated to work towards the common goal. This leadership strategy encourages collaboration and ultimately sets a team up for long-term success.
Importance of Developing a Leadership Strategy
Results are achieved more efficiently and effectively through a team effort, which is why it’s so important to put in place leadership development strategies. Whether it’s a social soccer team or a group of high-level business executives, there are many benefits to implementing a leadership development plan, including the following:
- Fostering a healthy team culture and work environment
- Enhancing peer performance
- Making the most of the resources available
- Maximizing your competitive advantage
- Increasing the group’s overall profit or success rate.
A leadership development plan also acts as a compass for navigating change.. All you have to do is refer back to your strategy, remember why it’s in place and refresh other people’s memories to get back on track and achieve your desired outcomes.
Understanding the Key Components of Leadership Strategy
- Vision, missions, and values
- Organizational goals and objectives
- Leadership competencies and skills
- Organizational culture
Knowing what factors will influence a leadership strategy’s success is part of making it work. Here are a few key components to consider when establishing your own plan.
Vision, Mission, and Values
What is important to your organization? Are you a team that values reliability, integrity, and compassion? Your company values may be entirely different. Whatever they are, your vision, mission and values define what type of leadership strategy you adopt. Your mission defines what your organization is doing today. Be specific: how do you serve the world around you? Vision, on the other hand, defines your organization’s future. How will you create a better world through your achievements? Finally, your values reflect what your company believes in. There are no right or wrong answers, so dive deep and be honest with yourself .
Organizational Goals and Objectives
Let’s say you want your business to launch into a new market and make a name for itself within the next 18 months. How will you achieve that goal? The answer will be in your leadership strategy. Once you’ve identified the steps to bring your goals into reach, focus on inspiring and motivating others to come along for the journey. Help your people understand their part in the success story. A leadership strategy that focuses on empowering its staff helps an organization get much closer to achieving its goal.
Leadership Competencies and Skills
Depending on the nature of the company, you will likely have to adapt your leadership style to align with various learning and management styles. While it might take some time to understand how individuals respond best to leadership, adapting to address your team’s needs is part of getting on the same page. Soft skills like self-awareness, strong communication, a willingness to listen and reflective capacity are a must.
Fostering a company culture where people feel that they have the freedom to speak and are listened to is a big part of creating an effective leadership strategy. People don’t like to be talked at, they want to be a part of the conversation. Feeling heard also makes us feel valued which in turn boosts staff morale and incentivizes your team to work toward a common goal. Another key part of an organization’s culture is creating a space for continuous improvement and professional development. This, in itself, is a hugely motivating factor to be mindful of.
How to Design a Comprehensive Leadership Strategy
- Assess current leadership capabilities
- Develop a leadership development plan
- Monitor and evaluate progress
Now that you understand the ins and outs of a leadership strategy, let’s build one of your own by assessing current capabilities, identifying required competencies, developing a plan, implementing programs and monitoring progress.
Assess Current Leadership Capabilities
Once you are clear on your leadership vision and objectives, it’s about looking at your leadership skills. Acknowledge your strong points and define areas where there may be room for improvement. You might assess current leadership capabilities through competency-based assessments and encouraging 360-degree feedback. If there are areas where you anticipate your leadership team is falling short, take part in leadership training or a mentoring program. Learning and Development is a great way to ensure your leadership strategy is strong and there are no skill gaps.. With a bit of research and assessment of your business needs, you’ll find plenty of leadership development programs to choose from Check out our L&D offerings to get started.
Develop a Leadership Development Plan
This is when we need to assess whether or not your leadership strategy will effectively encourage your group, team or organization to be a part of achieving your desired outcomes. Much like we discussed earlier, this could look like establishing and clearly communicating the organization’s vision. You might also show how much you value your employees or display transparency to build a sense of trust with your team. In turn, a clear plan could empower your people to buy in and even become future leaders themselves.
During the development of a leadership plan, it’s also important to set SMART goals, identify learning activities and resources, as well as develop and action a plan that includes milestones and deadlines.
Monitor and Evaluate Progress
Seeking feedback on your leadership strategy is a great way to determine whether it’s been successful in the work environment. One way to learn if the strategy is a good fit is by talking with team members directly or gaining feedback through anonymous surveys and pulse checks. You’ll find that knowing how your team members respond to the strategy is invaluable. After all, high employee engagement is a sign of an effective leader. Putting organization-wide performance measures in place, such as retention, productivity and customer satisfaction, is also a must.
Overcoming Common Challenges in Developing a Leadership Strategy
It’s essential essential to note the factors that can impact a leadership strategy’s success. Here are some of the key things to consider.
Resistance to change
There’s no doubt about it: change can be overwhelming at times. Still, while change can’t be avoided, we can learn to use it to our advantage. We stress the importance of developing a leadership strategy because it helps to recenter people when things don’t turn out the way we planned. By having a plan, you can go back and use it as a reminder of what you need to do to get where you want to be. Sometimes, change can lead you to success in ways you never imagined.
Lack of Resources
Lack of resources can be a challenge for organizations implementing a leadership strategy, but there is always room for making do with what you already have. Taking a closer look at what existing resources are available and assessing how they can be used most effectively is a great way to ensure that you can still achieve what you’ve set out to do. Even if you are working with a smaller toolkit, being strategic in your plans and using problem-solving to overcome perceived obstacles is the only way to get rid of leadership gaps. From there, you’ll start to see real opportunities for development.
Insufficient Monitoring and Evaluation
We’ve said it before; however, it’s so crucial that it’s worth re-emphasizing. Regularly measuring the success of a business strategy is the only way to know whether or not you’re making the impact you intended. Regular review of leadership positions allows you to monitor progress towards goals. Doing so also provides an opportunity to measure performance against key results and identify areas that require attention or improvement. Don’t shy away from feedback in leadership roles. Sometimes, all it takes is an outside perspective to get it right.
Conclusion: Recapping the Importance of Developing a Leadership Strategy
There’s no way around it – if you want to build up a team for success, you have to have a leadership strategy that aligns with the organization’s values and works for all stakeholders. No matter what group you’re leading, having that strategy will make all the difference when it comes to achieving the desired results and doing so collectively. Often, it’s what separates great leaders from just good leadership.
In this article, we’ve detailed what a leadership strategy is, and why leadership development is so crucial in times of change. We’ve identified the steps to designing a comprehensive plan, as well as what could hinder its effectiveness. At WDHB, we offer leadership and development training programs for groups of all shapes and sizes – customized to your organization’s unique needs.. Now that you have the tools and know-how to create your own leadership strategy, all you have to do is get started.