Before we go any further on the subject of strategic leadership, we must realize that the best leaders who think and act strategically do something that can, at times, appear to be very simple, but in reality is challenging and very unique.
Strategic leaders are authentic, approachable and compassionate.
Being authentic may not seem difficult but it is. So many leaders try to “do” authenticity. They believe it is all about the way they talk or listen. But the best leaders do not try to be something other than be who they truly are. These leaders are genuinely interested in people, purpose and service. Their authenticity is based on being respectful, grounded and kind.
Truly gifted strategic leaders are also approachable. Every one is instantly comfortable with them. Given their genuine nature, they love to stop and visit with people about their work. These leaders have never met a stranger and are always open to visiting with people to learn what they are doing.
Finally, the best are always compassionate. They know people are doing the best they can with what they have. They understand that people want to do a good job and want to make a difference in their work. Therefore, these exceptional strategic leaders show real empathy, sympathy and concern for others.
In short, the inner game of strategic leadership is about having heart not just head for the work of leading others. When we are authentic, approachable and compassionate, then others around us respond differently and thoughtfully to the challenges before the organization and each other.
This week, look into the mirror and reflect on whether or not you are improving your inner game as a leader. As Kevin Cashman wrote years ago, if you want to be a better leader, then become a better person. This is a good time to begin walking that pathway.