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Leadership styles and strategy implementation

According to Beatty and Quinn (2010), a strategic leader is one who is able to make an impact on the organisation by aligning their systems, culture and organisational structure to ensure consistency with the strategy. Rothaermel (2013) defines strategic leadership as the behaviours and styles of executives that influence others to achieve organisational goals.

No matter how good and thought-out your new strategy is and how well the firm and the market are prepared for it, its implementation can only succeed if led by influential, emphatic and inspirational executives (Rothaermel, 2013). This is why any organisational audit should include and prioritise an analysis of the actual availability of the managerial critical mass capable of leading the implementation of the chosen strategy. Strategic leaders are those who drive the development of the organisational mission, who communicate it to their colleagues, who are passionate about finding any forms of their firm's competitive advantage and who are able to lead any strategic activities to accomplishment.

While management style is inherently related to the organisational structure and culture and can differ in each individual case, certain key common roles are carried out by any efficient executive. They have been defined in the seminal work of Mintzberg (1973) as follows:

Leaders can further be described in two ways (Waldman et al., 2001):

  1. charismatic leaders or those who primarily focus on developing a corporation's vision and inspiring their employees
  2. instrumental or transactional leaders, who mainly commit themselves to constructing activities and controlling their execution

A useful framework for studying the impact of the competencies of the firm's top management on the success or failure of any strategy is the upper echelons theory (Hambrick, 2007).

Another important model for understanding strategic leadership, as well as how you can develop the qualities of a strategic leader, is the so-called level-5 pyramid (Collins, 2001). This pyramid defines a managerial hierarchy in terms of leadership qualities:

In the above hierarchy, level 5 defines a leader capable of critically influencing the whole organisation, not only during his/her time in it but also over a long-term period after he/she steps down from the company's management. This ability is what actually makes a person a strategic leader.

Watch these videos for examples of strategy implementation:

Closing the gap between strategy and execution: The strategy | London Business School

View Closing the gap between strategy and execution: The strategy | London Business School video transcript

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What is Strategy Implementation? A Quick Overview

View What is Strategy Implementation? A Quick Overview video transcript

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