Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express said, “My role is to define reality and to give hope.”
Leaders question assumptions, look at problems in new ways and create and articulate a vision for the future. In the context of strategic management, leadership includes the following traits:
- Leaders set a clear and consistent vision or “picture of the future” of the organisation
- Leaders are pro-active in preparing the organisation for the future
- Leaders are visible and engaged to ensure that staff understand the common vision and can translate it into terms relevant to their roles
- Leaders “walk the talk” in exemplifying the values, ethics and policies of the organisation
- Leaders don’t micromanage but trust and encourage employees to contribute their ideas and grow in their careers
- Leaders “walk around” and work alongside staff to encourage teamwork.
Many employees are now considered “knowledge workers” – they are hired for their thinking skills. In this environment employees want to know why they are being asked to do their assignments. Hence strategic management leads to increased employee empowerment and less “command and control” management.
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