Strategic Management and Leadership Skills Development

Introduction

Strategic management is a type of leadership that relies on human potential as the foundation of an organization. The essence of this principle of work is to focus on specific interests and quickly respond to any changes within a particular company. The ability to achieve competitive advantages and distinct goals is one of the primary benefits of this leadership style. Also, an integral part of strategic management is leadership skills. These properties of strategic management allow for operating successfully with available knowledge and achieving high-level results in a given sphere of work. Moreover, the use of these experiences helps companies to reach a new level and comply with the most modern production standards. For these reasons, the development of strategic management is inextricably linked with leadership qualities, and the successful implementation of specific methods in the work process can help to gain recognition within the organization and achieve a high level of operational success.

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Relationship between Strategic Management and Leadership Skills

Even though management and leadership are not synonymous concepts, there is a special connection between them. According to Mullins (2010, p. 28), the ability to be a leader is an essential condition to become a manager. Nevertheless, both the leader and the head of a particular organization deal with the same type of problems associated with motivating the organization’s personnel, directing staff members to solve specific tasks, and overseeing how these assignments can be made. Strategic management is the work involved with coordinating employees connected with taking personal responsibility for their results. Good managers ensure order and consistency in the work that is performed. They focus their interactions with subordinates on the promotion of success within the framework of the organization’s established goals. The leader inspires people and shares his or her enthusiasm among colleagues, conveying to them a specific vision of the future and helping them to adapt to the new and pass through the stage of change.

The essence of strategic management lies in the fact that enterprises should have clear development plans and controlling structures that incorporate their principles. The presence of systems and mechanisms of interaction between individual programs, which are intended to outperform competitors and create management tools to implement these strategies, represents an indispensable condition for success. Recently, such managerial qualities as foresight and leadership have become more prominent in discussions of personnel management (Howard-Grenville et al. 2017, p. 108). A modern manager needs to act as a leader to properly organize the work of employees. The personal qualities of the leader manifested in his or her behavior, leave a significant imprint on the style of a particular organization, its personnel policy, and employees’ well-being and satisfaction with their results. Accordingly, the relationship between such concepts as strategic management and leadership is quite evident.

Impact of Management and Leadership Styles on Strategic Decisions

An officially appointed head of a unit has advantages when it comes to winning leading positions within a group; therefore, he or she tends to become a leader more often than anyone else. However, being named as a leader does not automatically mean being viewed as a leader, since leadership is primarily based on an informal background. Moreover, the behavior of a formal leader depends on whether he or she is striving to achieve excellent results or is satisfied with the current situation and does not particularly want to grow personally. In the first case, leaders who identify themselves with larger groups within the organization rather than with a group of subordinates may believe that emotional attachment to the team can become a hindrance on his path. At the same time, efficient supervision involves realizing possible mistakes and should not be associated with personal motives. Thus the relationship between the concepts of management and leadership is again quite evident.

Consideration of the problems of strategic decision-making begins with the definition of a strategic setting. Defining the attitude or mission of the organization entails trying to answer the question of what the ultimate meaning of the organization’s activity is (Gold, Thorpe & Mumford 2010, p. 79). It is usually quite broad in scope and often looks like a description of the company’s long-term prospects. Of course, there is often little serious reason to seek to define the mission of a small commercial organization. Smaller commercial organizations are typically not characterized by systematic strategic planning since this process is labor-intensive and quite expensive. However, in the case of corporations and large business organizations, the problem of defining a mission can become one of the critical issues of strategic development.

Adaptation of Leadership Styles to Different Situations

Leadership that is focused on a task aims to achieve a specific goal in the short term. Potential advantages of this style are the speed of decision-making related to the primary purpose, as well as strict control over all subordinates. The type of leadership that is oriented around relationships is primarily associated with the feelings and communication that arise among employees. The effectiveness of work is enhanced by improving human relations: mutual assistance, the ability to make independent decisions, etc.

Task-oriented or autocratic leaders are most effective in situations with either very high or deficient control. Using their powers, such people can bring order to a confused and uncertain working environment through issuing commands and disciplinary sanctions. In situations of moderate control, the most effective leaders are relationship-oriented. According to Adair (2009b, p. 47) who gives the example of Fiedler’s contingency theory, people who are capable of smoothing out all the shortcomings during the workflow will operate in such situations most successfully. There is also a laissez-faire style that presumes that employees will work well by themselves. Members of groups are allowed more freedom of action, and the manager is readily available if help is needed. All these types of leadership can be applied to solve specific tasks efficiently, and a skillful combination of specialized techniques makes it possible to achieve particular goals quickly and efficiently.

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Management and Leadership Theories

It is not a secret that a company’s management should actively participate in the process of implementing new rules and theories. The position of the Regional Director typically must bear a rather large amount of responsibility because the development of new strategies for doing business can cause an unpredictable reaction among members of the team. The more precise and firm a plan for introducing possible changes is, the sooner all employees will understand how and why they need to work to achieve a common goal (Adair 2009a, p. 40). Therefore, when making decisions in the field of personnel management, both economic aspects and the needs and interests of workers should be taken into account. Relevant factors include salaries and satisfaction with working conditions, as well as the possibility of professional growth. As a possible management theory for the Regional Director, a corporate strategy may be used. It allows calculating the outlook for a particular enterprise intelligently and achieving practical results.

Impact of Management Theory on Organisational Strategy

Corporate-level strategy defines the organization as a whole, the behavior of its divisions or business departments, and commodity lines, the combination of which allows people to perceive the company as a complete unit. Such activities at the corporate level include, for example, the expansion or reduction of an existing business, the creation of joint ventures, cooperation in the appropriate sphere, and mutually beneficial partnerships. The responsibilities of the Regional Director include determining the goals, missions, and objectives of a particular organization, identifying the essential areas of activity, allocating resources for each objective, and formulating strategies for directing individual work. The corporate strategy also means taking into account the financial and organizational structure of a particular enterprise as a whole (Boyatzis 2014, p. 302). Strategic tasks at the corporate level can include, for instance, opening a new company abroad or establishing an offshore production facility in a country with a low-cost workforce.

Strategic analysis under such a theory also determines the goal, primary tasks, expectations, and power relationships within a particular organization. The organizational aims constitute the background against which the proposed strategies are formulated, as well as the criteria by which they are evaluated. These goals establish the organization’s purpose and the nature of its activities. The central tasks determine what the enterprise intends to accomplish in the medium and long term to achieve its goals. The study of the external environment or specific characteristics in which the company operates is another component of the corporate-level strategy. Any organization faces conditions of complex business processes that include many concepts – political, technological, social, and economic (Kouzes & Posner 2008, p. 117). Accounting for all these aspects is a significant consideration for the successful operation of a particular enterprise.

Leadership Strategy That Supports Organisational Direction

A leadership development strategy should take into account the differences in requirements for leaders, depending on their level, functions, and geographical location. Today, the concept of a personnel escalator is widely recognized. It includes identifiable turnaround points that require higher levels of leadership ability. This theory should be supplemented by attention to the individual needs of employees in various positions and different geographical regions.

Standard programs or experiences can be useful for beginners; however, they will not be enough to implement a particular leadership strategy completely. Some competency models that have been customized for a particular business often remain too general, focused on the past, and only indirectly tied to educational activities. As McCleskey (2014, p. 122) claims, one possible and practical leadership strategy entails consistency and planning. Work assignments and career advancements are significant means for personnel development. Opportunities to derive maximum benefits are too often overlooked, however. People spend time in a new place, but they do not undertake to study the language, or they fail to communicate with those who could help them understand the local culture. Thus, cross-functional tasks could be accomplished by mastering the minimum set of knowledge and skills necessary for them, instead of plunging into the context of work and making the maximum use of others’ knowledge and experience. However, such opportunities are too valuable to miss. Therefore, consistency and planning play a significant role in the process of becoming a leader.

Recruitment Plan and Future Development

A program for the independent development of leadership qualities should reflect a firm intention to make maximum use of available skills. It is necessary to focus on concrete and practical steps rather than vague formulations. As Gold, Thorpe, and Mumford (2010, p. 114) remark, the beginning of the development of leadership qualities is the identification of limiting beliefs. The first step on the path to personal growth is the recognition of the existence of specific obstacles and counterproductive views. It is frequently necessary to take additional measures to gain confidence in individual abilities. That is why it is essential to assess current leadership requirements to properly think through the appropriate strategy and develop a unique action plan.

Methods to Review Current Leadership Requirements

An active leader should take into account many different impetuses. Thus, to earn credibility among colleagues, it is necessary to meet the goals of the team. Leaders must create clear guidelines for themselves and their subordinates and determine goals and objectives. A Regional Director, for example, requires an interest in other team members. The community should be built on the principles of support, understanding, and mutual assistance. This means that counteracting conflicts is another necessary element. The leader must establish a framework that does not allow disagreements to grow into explicit interpersonal confrontations.

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Developing consistent qualities in strict accordance with current conditions is necessary. One of the tasks of an experienced leader is the ability to listen and hear. Team members always want to be heard, and this will determine the level of their satisfaction with work and the quality of the actions that they perform (Kouzes & Posner 2008, p. 94). It is also necessary to ensure that most decisions are made together as a team. Responsibility for the result always falls on the leader. However, this does not mean that a decision-making process should also be one-on-one. In the course of joint analysis, details can be revealed that would not be noticed by one person but could be detected by another one.

Plan for the Development of Future Situations

When it comes to competent leadership, one of the essential conditions that must be taken into account is the consideration of individual differences. Efficient team members respect the opinions of others and consider personal views as a positive rather than a negative. Accordingly, it is necessary to encourage the free expression of ideas. As Boyatzis (2014, p. 19) notes, top members of the team are not silent. If they have a particular opinion on any issue, they express it even if it contradicts other colleagues’ views. It will be necessary to develop methods to provide constant feedback about personal work, that is, to find out what is going right and what is not and determine what measures need to be taken on this or other issues.

A personal plan for the development of leadership qualities must be concrete and realistic. It should mobilize all abilities and demand full engagement. First of all, it is necessary to set clear goals when it comes to planning future situations that will require leadership. It is important to identify deadlines and be prepared for hard work. It is also necessary to determine on what grounds one can judge real success to determine whether the current plan is effective or not. The development of a system of intermediate goals may be helpful in this regard. This will allow for observing progress and imparting new impulses to a personal plan. Perfecting leadership qualities must be continuous. As soon as one goal is achieved, new areas of focus must be emphasized. A constant rise in leadership positions is often accompanied by rather hard work and regular self-improvement; however, many unpredictable situations that may arise in the future may require a rapid response.

Plan for the Development of Leadership Skills

Perfecting leadership qualities must be continuous. As soon as one goal is achieved, new areas of focus must be emphasized. A constant rise in leadership positions is often accompanied by rather hard work and regular self-improvement; however, many unpredictable situations that may arise in the future may require a rapid response.

Development of Leadership Skills for a Specific Requirement

The position of the Regional Director requires specific adaptation so that the process of work and becoming a leader can be developed according to the interests of the organization. Thus, during the year, at least two training courses or self-development training sessions can be conducted, including, for example, effective business communication, leadership, oratory, personal time management skills, decision-making, etc. Also, it would not be superfluous to talk with recognized and respected leaders to listen to their ideas about leadership to understand how they achieved particular results. It is also possible to ask friends or colleagues about what they value in the behavior of leaders most and least, and then write down and analyze their answers.

Quite a useful method would perhaps be to find out how managers and colleagues assess promising leadership qualities required by a particular position. Alternatively, one long-term training program may be chosen that will deepen and expand existing knowledge in a specific field. All of this will certainly help in achieving success as a new Regional Director and will make a significant contribution to the process of developing individual leadership skills.

The usefulness of the Applied Methods

The value of the methods used to plan the development of leadership skills is that the proposed scheme of work not only helps develop personal abilities but also positively affects the company’s success. The possibility of self-education opens up rather evident prospects and provides necessary information about what mistakes could be avoided and which strategy is best (McCleskey 2014, p. 102). Also, a joint approach to the realization of a set goal, as described in these methods, is the key to team building that, in its turn, favors the establishment of individual contact with subordinates. Accounting for the views of colleagues is an unavoidable condition for mutual support and provides for the collaborative achievement of a goal under the guidance of an experienced leader. If all the members of the team understand this, work is more likely to lead to positive results.

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Moreover, advice from senior management can be quite an effective source of new knowledge about how to achieve better and more efficient performance and become an example among colleagues. According to Adair (2009b, p. 122), the higher the level of trust among employees, the greater the chances are of creating a cohesive team that is ready to work for a common goal. Perhaps a long-term educational program for sharpening staff members’ necessary skills and helping them to obtain the knowledge that many employees acquire over many years would also be sufficiently effective. Consequently, the methods used to plan the development of leadership skills can quite reasonably and justifiably be considered useful.

Conclusion

In these ways, the development of strategic management is inextricably linked with leadership qualities. The successful implementation of specific methods in the work process is quite a reliable way to achieve a high level of operational success and become an example for colleagues. Practical steps toward improving appropriate abilities include quite a few aspects, including self-education, consulting with management, planning, as well as identifying the optimal style of leadership required for a specific working environment. The development of appropriate skills requires a high degree of perseverance and sometimes takes a long time. Nevertheless, all the efforts invested in such work will have a positive effect on the company’s performance and will help achieve the desired result. If all these conditions are fully met, a Regional Director can become potentially successful. A reasonable strategy for doing business and establishing partnership will surely allow for establishing a clear working process and motivating all employees to achieve a common goal.

Reference List

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Adair, J 2009b, How to grow leaders: the seven key principles of effective leadership development, Kogan Page, London.

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Boyatzis, RE 2014, ‘Possible contributions to leadership and management development from neuroscience’, Academy of Management Learning & Education, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 300-303.

Gold, J, Thorpe, R & Mumford, A 2010, Leadership and management development, Kogan Page, London.

Howard-Grenville, J, Davis, J, Dyllick, T, Joshi, A, Miller, C, Thau, S & Tsui, AS 2017, ‘Sustainable development for a better world: contributions of leadership, management and organizations’, Academy of Management Discoveries, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 107-110.

Kouzes, JM & Posner, BZ 2008, The leadership challenge, 4th edn, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.

McCleskey, JA 2014, ‘Situational, transformational, and transactional leadership and leadership development’, Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 117-130.

Mullins, LJ 2010, Management and organisational behaviour, 9th edn, Financial Times/Prentice Hall, Harlow.

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