Strategic Leadership: Definition, Characteristics & Examples

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  • 0:05 Defining Strategic Leadership
  • 0:46 Characteristics
  • 2:46 Benefits & Challenges
  • 3:44 TDIndustries
  • 4:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Savannah Samoszuk

Savannah has over eight years of hotel management experience and has a master's degree in leadership.

There are many different leadership types and theories. This lesson will look at one approach - strategic leadership - by defining it, describing its characteristics, and providing some examples.

Defining Strategic Leadership

Think about the different types of leaders you have encountered in your life. Each of them probably had a different approach to getting things done. In this lesson, we'll examine one particular approach to leadership, known as strategic leadership. Strategic leadership is the ability to get people to make their own decisions with the company in mind.

Strategic leadership theory does not involve using force or threats in order to get people to follow. When a company uses strategic leadership, it is able to gain the support of its team members by influencing them in a way that makes them want to contribute to the success of the company. Let's take a look at the characteristics, the benefits and challenges, and a real life example of strategic leadership.


So what is strategic leadership and what does it look like? Here are some of the characteristics that exemplify strategic leadership.

Looking Into The Future

Strategic leaders are always looking ahead. They are not trying to catch up to trends or looking behind them. They keep their hand on the pulse of their industry to make sure that they are prepared for what is coming next. For example, computer companies with strategic leaders had to be aware that consumers were going to want to tablets and smaller devices. These leaders were able to produce a product in time to meet this trend, whereas leaders that were not strategic fell behind.

Open to Questions

Next, strategic leaders are open to questions. They encourage their team members to question them and challenge them on actions and plans. This helps them to hear new ideas and provokes them to see new points of view. This assists with creativity and prevents getting stagnant with just the ideas of the leadership team. Think of it this way: Have you ever had a leader who did not like to be questioned? This probably made it hard for you to speak up with new ideas.

Making Calculated Decisions

All leaders are faced with making decisions on a daily basis. Strategic leaders try to have a process in place for making decisions and don't just base decisions on their instinct. They look at all options before making a decision. They consider all the pros and cons of a decision but still try to make decisions in a timely manner.

Looking for Opportunities to Improve

The last characteristic of strategic leadership is using both successful and unsuccessful examples as opportunities to improve. Strategic leaders want to learn from everything. If a project was a success, they will look at ways they still could have improved. If a project was a failure, they will use it as opportunity to improve for next time. This encourages the team to take chances because they are not afraid of the consequences if they fail.

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