How are your Strategic Leadership Skills?

Today’s Fast Track article offered several guidelines/tips on how to be an effective strategic leader.  Upon reading this simple yet insightful article it struck me that many of the guidelines could easily be transformed into questions leaders could use for self-assessment (or alternatively, by others in a 360 review).

The article focused on 3 Key areas of Leadership: Knowing your Business, Decision Making and Inspiring Others.  Below are some questions based on each of these areas that every leader should ask themselves – many are obvious and simple to respond to while others may be cause for reflection:

Knowing your Business:
Effective leaders have in depth knowledge of their business and are continually learning.

1. How does your company make money?
2. What is your competitive advantage?
a. Have you spoken directly to your customers to understand their needs and
3. Where is your industry headed?

Decision Making:
Once you have the knowledge a strategic leader must know how to apply it appropriately.

1. Are you responsive or hasty?
2. Do you reflect or overanalyize?
3. Do you make decisions with any of these common biases?
a. Similar-to-me effect (favoring those who look, act, think like you)
b. Confirmation bias (remembering only the facts that support your viewpoint)
c. Halo effect (allowing one very positive or negative item to overshadow your opinion)
d. Hindsight bias (wrongly perceiving past events as predictable, “I knew it!”)

Inspiring Others:
Knowledge and decision making ability will only make you a good individual contributor, to be a true leader you must inspire and encourage the same in others.

1. Are you optimistic with a focus on possibilities or do you focus on limitations?
2. Have you created and shared a clear aspirational vision?
3. Are you passionate about reaching goals?
5. Are you able to present ideas simply and clearly so they can be understood and repeated by all?

So, how did you do?

The Kingbridge Insight this week is an observation that although the above is a very quick and simplistic high level assessment of leadership it is a good place to start none the less. So many leaders are intimidated by the plethora of ‘assessment tools’ out there that require hours or more to complete and then provide results that are not easily interpreted nor extrapolated into usable/actionable information.  Rather than diving right into the deep end perhaps it is wiser – and ultimately more effective –  to wade into the shallow end first!