To succeed as a strategic leader will take everything you’ve got. In this highly demanding style of leadership, you must exercise strategic smarts, but also combine them with character. You’re setting out a vision of how you want the company to be and where you want it to go. Then you need others to join you in transforming that vision into reality. 

This post will provide insight into five essential skills you should possess to succeed as a strategic leader. We’ll also suggest courses that can help you develop skills for strategic leadership. 

What crucial skills do you need for strategic leadership in 2021?

Strategic leadership takes guts, and you should get some solid leadership training behind you. You’re taking your company, and the people in it, on a journey. Below are five crucial skills you need to master strategic leadership in 2021.

  • Strategic thinking

Like any other style of leadership, strategic leadership requires solid strategic thinking, and it’s more than just having an idea. You should support your vision with data, research, and information, all of which can build the faith of others in your vision. It’s about knowing your market and your customers. Our Advanced Strategic Planning for Directors programme focuses strongly on business strategy and will help you to plan and deliver strategies, and, of course, to lead strategically. 

  • Communication

Whether you’re a strategic leader or you favour a different leadership style, solid communication skills are paramount. You’re going to have to communicate your vision to others clearly if you want them to support you in achieving it. 

Part of this means listening actively to the people around you. Hear the message, not just the words. Listening to your employees will make them feel valued and that they’re part of the drive towards the vision. Even more importantly, however, it can bring to your attention any barriers that stand between you and accomplishing your vision. 

Our Leading and Managing Teams Remotely course is an effective course for improving your communication skills. At a time when we’re being forced to work remotely, the course will help you to break down communication barriers and navigate other challenges that leading remotely can present. 

  • Commitment to a clear vision

It’s one thing to lay out your vision; it’s quite another to commit to it. Nothing good comes easy, and, as you know, obstacles are going to arise and hinder your progress towards achieving your vision. They’ll test you and do their damnedest to derail the project, but, as a strategic leader, you’ve got to stay the course and finish what you’ve started. 

Strategic leadership requires determination and perseverance. Our Understanding Resilience training course will help you develop the grit it takes to lead strategically and successfully.

  • Ability to lead through change

Change management skills are vital. Your vision may entail a change in the company direction, especially in the climate that COVID-19 has created, and change(s) can yield fear and resistance. Change requires innovation, too, and not only do you have to innovate, but you also have to encourage innovation in others. 

You’ve got to drive change forward and be flexible during the process, yet still implement safeguards to prevent the company from reverting back to old — and potentially less productive or less profitable —ways. 

Change is challenging, but our Leadership Through Change Programme will help you navigate it successfully. You’ll learn about building the resilience to steer your company through change; about coaching and mentoring others during periods of change; about responding to issues swiftly and adapting; and more. 

  • Ability to earn respect

Your company will go through change, and your employees will be mindful of it as they strive towards accomplishing your vision. While they’re fulfilling their role, however, you must also play your part by holding yourself accountable for the impact of your leadership on them and on the company. You must earn their respect if they’re going to continue supporting you in achieving the vision. 

One way to earn respect, as well as holding yourself accountable, is to make effective — and sometimes, brave — decisions. Some will force you to get creative and will be unconventional because you’ll encounter challenges new to you and to the company. Playing it safe will impress no one, whereas showing the courage to take calculated risks will get people on your side. Our CMI Level 7 Strategic Decision Making and Problem Solving Programme will train you to approach decision-making strategically and address any obstacles on the way to fulfilling your vision. 

Book your course with us

Click on the course pages ‘Book your place’ button to secure your spot on one of our online courses, or click on the ‘Request a callback’ link if you want someone to get in touch. You may wish to learn more comprehensively about strategic leadership, in which case you should book your place on our Strategic Leadership Masterclass

We’re here to support you. To find out more about our courses, visit our Courses Page, email us at or fill in the form on our Contact Page. To speak to someone directly, call us on 0161 826 3139. We’re always happy to chat and advise you, and we can guide you every step of the way.

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