“Strategic leadership is enacted by teams and individuals when they think, act and influence in ways that promote the sustainable competitive advantages of the organization” (Hughes, Beaty & Dinwoodie, 2014, p.22).
I’m relatively new to the concept of leadership personally as just less than a year ago I was practicing as a Dental intern. As I learn more about servant leadership or transformational leadership, my interest has piqued. Strategic leadership is another thought evoking part of leadership and this definition explains it well. Strategic leadership is about sustainability and this is one of the most important factors deciding the future of any company or team or individual.
Assessing Myself as a Strategic Leader
I’m in the midst of a career change, and I’m still trying to figure out everything. I’m evolving as a leader as well as a person. My general response to any circumstance in my life usually depends on the kind of crisis or situation it is but if I had to narrow it down than it is generally taking a good look at the problem and assessing it to its core. I over analyze, and my need behavior in crisis is having an organized and clear goal and a clear plan to accomplish it. I’m a persistent person, and I usually do not stop until the situation is tackled efficiently but if I realize it is something I cannot control I leave and trust the process. Having this faith of letting go and letting some things be has changed my life personally and professionally. Accomplishing this has been hard as I’m a very practical person, and I need a reasonable answer to all situations but because I’ve come to an understanding that some circumstances simply need time to be resolved.
I’ve grown up with clinical anxiety. Even though I’ve dealt with it fine and have some really good coping mechanisms, I still struggle with it sometimes. I’m calm and composed in stressful situations in my personal life. I’ve always been a family person and the positive friend who comes up with solutions and believe that the love is greater than any obstacle. My family and friends have been very supportive in my life so I feel grateful to have them and this leads to a problem that I’m unable to say no to anyone. I always feel like everyone has done so much for me and I owe everyone so much that I go out of my way to help others. It is not at all a bad habit but sometimes it is not the best idea for my own growth. Professionally, I’m a very anxious person and I stress about the smallest of problems. One of the reasons is that I just decided to switch careers and I’m constantly worried about how is it going to work because coming from healthcare to business is literally stepping into the unknown. I’m always afraid of making mistakes and I overthink a lot. I beat myself up overplanning the future and going over my plans, decisions, and ideas. Again, the persistent nature helps me stick to my decisions, and I make sure that all the tasks on my plate are done in the best way possible. This attitude sometimes harmful to my mental and physical health. I’m trying to practice the art of letting go and the need to control every situation and outcome and trusting the process professionally as well. I have immense faith that things will work out eventually, but it is a fact of not having all the answers to how, when and where that makes me anxious and over-exhaust myself.
Strengthening my Responses
There are so many things that I need to learn and practice to improve and strengthen my responses. Personally, the biggest things that I need to do is set boundaries and practice self-love and care at times. Due to lack of limitations and the inability to say no has drained me at times. Professionally, I need to keep my faith intact and work on not being so afraid to make mistakes and go head first into my fears. I need to learn more about business and leadership and practice it on a regular basis.
My biggest strength right now is that I’m a keen learner. Also, I’m not afraid of saying I don’t know something and asking questions about it. I consider my curiosity a strength as well as it helps me grow. My weakness is mainly being too cautious and not taking enough chances. I need to practice patience and taking more calculated risks without having a panic attack.
Mission, Vision, and Values
I left dentistry mainly because I realized it was not my calling and I don’t love it as much. My driving force is the desire of making a difference and serving people. Indeed, being a dentist involves helping people but I had a different perspective. After a lot of research, I came across a former monk turned motivational speaker and entrepreneur Jay Shetty. He presented this idea to find something you love and find something that will serve the world and connect these things in a way you get paid while doing all of these. This concept blew my mind and this has been my way to life ever since.
Mission: My mission is to turn my professional space into something that I love and grow as a person and professional and in turn give something back to the world.
Vision: I’ve always been driven to uplift people as I know how it feels to be in the dark, so I want to have enough resources that I’m able to share with other people and positively influence their lives.
Values: My core values are honesty, humility, gratitude, and empathy. Honesty is indeed the best policy, and it is one of the core values of leadership. Being humble is another crucial trait of being a good leader. As Buddha said that when you are speaking, you only say what you know and when you are listening, you learn something new. It is imperative to be humble and a continuous learner. Gratitude is the closest value to my heart. Being grateful for every smallest of thing has affected my life is a great way. Practicing empathy is essential to help and uplift people.
“Crafting strategy is more of a discovery process than it is a determination process” (Hughes, Beaty & Dinwoodie, 2014, p.28). My strategic drivers are innovation and consistency. Innovation is the key to entrepreneurship. Innovating and thinking outside the box is the basic necessity for a startup. Consistency is the key to success. Just setting a goal or making a plan is not enough, being consistent and working no matter how tired or discouraged you feel is what makes the difference.
I want to inculcate a culture of being vulnerable, kind, and culture of growth. Vulnerability is seen as a weakness, but to me, it is one of the biggest strength. Being kind to each other is a very integral part of an ethical culture, and it means there will be room for growth for everyone without judgment. I want to create a culture where everyone can be their true self without any shame or fear and grow and learn from each other.
I have stepped into the world of leadership after the new economic thinking came into play and this is what attracted me as the new economy is about uplifting others and serving and not just about profits. “Leading from a new economy values perspective represents a specific way of being a leader as well as doing things differently by serving the interest of others as a core starting point” (Ungerer, et al., 2016). To me, leadership is about serving others and is not about self-interest.
After reading the course material, I have realized there is so much I need to work on to be a strategic leader. I’m a work in progress, and I must align my actions with the values of a good strategic leader for sustainable success. It also reminded me of the importance of focus and identifying clear goals and objectives. Then aligning all your actions with that goal and not look for short-term fixes. As said by Hughes, et al. (2014), “Strategy renders choices about what not to do as important as choices about what to do.” These chapters were highly enlightening and true eye-openers, and I learned the first thing about strategic leadership, and I would try to imply it into my daily practices.
Hughes, R., Beatty, K., & Dinwoodie, D. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader: Your role in your organization’s enduring success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Ungerer, M., Ungerer, G., & Herholdt, J. (2016). Navigating strategic possibilities. Randburg: KR Publishing.