Grow Your Managers into Strategic Leaders

There are countless by-products of the pandemic, but most obvious is the need for organizations and people to do things differently, more efficiently, and faster. In order to meet these challenges, organizations need leaders that are future focused and think outside the box. This is causing many organizations to reevaluate what types of leaders they have and what they need moving forward. This causes organizational leaders to appraise their leaders and determine what is most needed – managers or strategic leaders.

Most managers are naturally doers. Although they have the responsibility of leading their team to accomplish certain outcomes, managers are frequently found in the trenches working alongside their people to get the job done. Increasingly, these same managers are being tasked to think more strategically and to focus on the long-term goals and objectives for the business. While some can easily shift from the tactical work to being more strategically-minded, others struggle.

What’s the difference? It’s a mindset issue.

Tactical Managers:

  • Relate to people according to the role they play in the decision-making process
  • Are typically driven by problem-solving and are more focused on short-term results
  • Typically manage the work that others do; tend to focus on navigating the day-to-day issues of the organization

Strategic Leaders:

  • Are more concerned with ideas and what others think intuitively; they encourage imagination and creativity
  • Tend to think beyond what individuals “do”
  • Take a more entrepreneurial and collaborative approach to looking at problems; encourage people to look for something “bigger”
  • Have an eye on the future and are looking for new opportunities for the organization

It’s natural for managers (and leaders) to deal with things that are right in front of them. Many managers have trouble thinking more strategically because they struggle with letting go, have a need to control process and outcomes, and can’t to delegate effectively. They tend to be so involved in the day-to-day that they forget to make time to think – to strategize on how to improve.

If managers want to grow and have more influence, they need to be more open to doing things differently. They must prioritize time to think about the what and why of how they approach the business. They need to inspire engagement in those they lead and encourage them to want to add greater value.

The risk if managers do NOT become more strategic is monumental. They risk being passed over for promotion or additional responsibility, their team lagging behind the larger organization, or being replaced by a manager that can look at the role more strategically. That may prove to be a fatal flaw for more tactical managers, that could otherwise be easily be avoided. The business world is too competitive and dynamic to maintain the status quo.

As business models evolve, more and more organizations are realizing they need more from their managers and leaders. Where these capabilities can’t be developed overnight, they can be developed!  A good manager can be taught to shift their mindset and think and act more strategically.

If your organization is facing this type of dilemma, then The Center for Leadership Excellence can help!

We invite you to visit our website to learn more about our Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Programs. Contact Patty Prosser at for additional information

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