Leadership vs. Management: Gain the Strategic Lead

Wednesday, 05. July 2017

Leadership vs. Management:
Gain the Strategic Lead

Not to order, but to give the right impulses. Not to react, but to develop successful strategies. As the world of economics and business undergoes profound digitalization, it becomes more and more evident that a new type of leadership is needed which will meet the disruptive challenges of the future. But what does good leadership in an ever changing working environment really require? Knowing one thing is essential in order to gain the lead strategically: No one has ever been born a master or a perfect strategic leader. On the contrary: The journey is the reward. You will have to disrupt processes and structures and establish completely new ones. So, how do you become a strategic leader? Start with an analysis of the style of leadership prevalent at the moment and compare it to the principles of strategic leadership.

Leadership back and then

In the past, those were most likely to become a manager who a) were especially bright or b) especially ambitious. In most of the cases however those who c) had proven their capability of solving problems. Unfortunately, you already know how to deal with those problems of the past now. Meanwhile a great deal of new questions has appeared – which the strategic departments of companies need to find answers to. It can be doubted that strategies, which have led to success in the past, will also work within the next five, ten or even fifteen years. The first step towards innovative strategic leadership could be described with a pair of only seemingly contradictive popular quotes from ancient Greece: “I know that I know nothing” and “Know thyself”. Managers should know that it is not possible to have all the answers ready at hand. This is especially true since the present transformational processes have led to questions people in the past didn’t have the faintest idea about.

New leadership competencies

The new generation of strategic leaders must be able to spot talents and know-how within their teams, to channel them and to make them thrive where needed. Therefore, managers should avoid confronting their “subalterns” with ready-made solutions. To put it in a nutshell, models of new leadership can only work with the following ingredients:

  • transperency
  • participation
  • respect
  • tolerance
  • open communication
  • networking

One more buzzword

Moreover, empowerment is what strategic leaders should focus on. Only those who empower their teams the right way will gain employees, who engage and can develop and implement new ideas on the long run. Let your team enjoy their success – and it will be all yours. Of course, this culture of openness can also contain the risk of failure – this is a thing you need to face and, if necessary, change the course. After all, good strategic leadership doesn’t mean clinging to a strategy set up once, but to be able to constantly adapt to new requirements – let’s call this culture of failure. For this reason, managers need to question their own decisions all the time: This is how you can get experience and establish sensible ways of conveying know-how within your team.

A hierarchic question

Lean Management and other concepts have been discussed a lot during recent years and might have been en vogue for some time. However, the most important question is: How can companies become more efficient and still have a lean management? What if teams would be their own administration – no middle management included? What if team members could decide independently and on their own? The precondition for this is that everybody has full access to any information at any time. This is the way how problems can be spotted at an early stage and how ideas can emerge. Strategic software such as SOLYP3 can be very helpful here.

Diversity is the key

Coming across new impulses is also much easier when not everybody in the team thinks the same way. This is why diversity within you team is so essential: When you need to decide which person to employ, don’t think so much about the question: “Does she or he fit into the team?” Instead, ask yourself: “Will she or he be able to add some new aspects to existing structures?” Only when employees don’t have to hide their own personality when going to work, they will fully engage. So don’t be shy to ask open questions – as long as you are prepared to receive honest replies.

Upshort: Boss vs. Leader

So what does it take to make your company gaining strategic lead in the future? This video by RN Productions presents a very good summary of the topic New Leadership:


Therefore, companies should build a trustful relationship between managers and team members based on transparency, commitment, security and motivation. This will make leaders more successful than those who need to resort to authority, pressure and fear – as already productive and seminal working teams could proove.