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What is the Relationship between Strategic Management and Leadership?


It often seems as if the business world is full of jargons and phrases. These can be used interchangeably so often that it is easy to think the two terms are the same. That is not always true because each they have distinct responsibilities and ways of doing things. Strategic management and leadership are unique in their own ways, but they do come together in helping organization achieve objectives and fulfill the stated mission.

The Definitions

Strategic management has a building block description to it. This is where the resources available to an organization are brought together. Financial, marketing, manpower, and other organizational functions and capital are analyzed to best determine how they can be used to reach and goals. The result are policies and processes to guide activity. It can very easily be said that strategic management develops a roadmap that can be followed.

Leadership does play a role in strategic management. A leader brings together all of the various groups within an organization to develop the action design. By the powers of communication and persuasion inherent in leadership, that person is going to convince everyone they are stakeholders in the final results. He or she is the guide along the path that has been outlined by strategic management planning.

Taking a Look at the Interconnection.

Leaders are important to the strategic management work because of the ability to bring people together. This does not mean that leaders act independent of the strategic plan. In fact, leaders rely quite a bit on what has been determined and also those people assigned the various tasks. The primary reason is that a strategic plan gives a sense of direction. Leaders can be visionaries, but without something concrete those visions are not much more than misty air. Leaders may be very influential in deciding what the ultimate goal is, but trying to reach it without a strategy would be like walking through a dark forest without a compass. Developed strategies also will provide useful tools for any leader. The benchmarks and timetables provide a justification for any motivational efforts. Leaders try to be problem solvers. Those very same performance indices will alert a leader to problems that need to be fine too. Incidentally, strategic management is a living operation. It is not something that is carved in solid stone.

Flexibility Matters

The business world was never fully static and in the modern economy the activity can be almost frantic. Circumstances and situations change with practically every business day. It means that the plan may have to be reevaluated, and the best strategies always have evaluation benchmarks. Leaders can help make the needed changes through their ability to communicate and problem solve. The best leaders are also flexible enough to change course when a new direction is in order. They are indispensable in getting other people to accept any alterations.

Achieving the Intended Result.

Strategic management and leadership can be thought of as planning and execution, respectively. A company cannot spend all of its time in the planning stage as it can lead to paralysis by analysis. Simply doing things without any sense of direction can be just as bad, and very often will lead an organization going down the wrong road. Leaders give an idea of where the final destination ought to be, and strategic management provides the resources and direction. Leaders derive from all the planning a pathway of process and policy which will allow the ultimate goal to be reached. It is a relationship between two functions that need each other and at the same time, produce desired results for the organization.

They are not totally separate but strategic management and leadership at their own respective assignments. Coming together, they put an organization on the correct path towards ultimate success. There should be no friction between the two, nor should there be any confusion as to the contributions each make to reach a goal and fulfilling the organization’s mission.

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