Answer these 4 questions to find the starting point for your personal strategic leadership development.
Strategic Leadership Development…for Leaders
If you’ve served as a manager or supervisor of almost any organization — you’re probably familiar with the process of strategic planning.
If you’ve somehow avoided such exposure to date, your time has come! Today I’m introducing you to four strategic planning questions that apply to leaders.
For your information, this blog is the first in a series of four, each focusing on the process for developing strategic leaders. Each post will pose a specific strategic leadership development question and challenge for self application.
You know the old saying, “Forewarned is forearmed!” Therefore, consider yourself forewarned. Now let’s get you appropriately armed! I’ll begin with a definition.
Strategic planning is a process organizations employ to define its strategy or direction. The strategy is then used to make decisions on allocating resources to accomplish desired end goals.
In other words, a strategic plan is intended to determine how the ends or goals will be achieved by the means or the resources available.
Strategic planning works well for leaders, too. Leaders just like you and me.
Consider the first of four strategic leadership development questions. (Be sure to look for questions 2-4 in posts to come.)
Strategic Leadership Development Question #1: Where am I right now?
This foundational question is critical to establish a baseline from which our personal strategic leadership development plans will be made going forward.
But here’s the key — you must be honest with yourself.
And the honest answer to “where am I right now,” involves far more than where you work, what you do there, and how long you’ve been doing it.
In the big scheme of things, your employer, title and seniority have very little to do with who you really are as a leader.
Instead, to effectively evaluate “where am I right now” as a leader, you need to carefully evaluate your competencies, opportunities and expectations.
To do that, answer these additional questions:
1. What are my personal leadership strengths?
For example, are you organized? Decisive? Composed under pressure? Confident?
Don’t be unnecessarily modest here. If you can do it, go ahead and list it. Remember, this list is for your eyes only.
- What are my personal leadership weaknesses?
Again, honesty is critical. What don’t you do very well? Are you a poor communicator? Are you inconsistent in your decision making? Do you procrastinate? Do you have a reputation for being unable to control your emotions?
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.
- What opportunities are available to enhance my leadership skills?
What about available on-site or online classes to help shore up your weaknesses? Are you staying current with your professional reading? Is there someone who could coach or mentor you?
- What threats exist if I don’t continue to develop as a leader?
I know, this is a tough question. It needs to be. You need to consider:
Is it possible that the expanding responsibilities of your position could eventually out pace your leadership skill set?
Is it possible that someone could lead your team — either now or in the future — more effectively than you?
Is it possible that your leadership position and responsibilities could be taken from you and given to another?
As difficult as it may be, as a proactive measure, you need to consider such worst case scenarios.
So now you have some work to do. I promise you, the strategic work you do today will serve you well in the future.
So get started. Next post I’ll be back to introduce Strategic Leadership Question #2.
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