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In any organization, one of the most important deciding factors in success stems from strategic leadership by the C-Suite Leaders. However, senior executives within the workplace – referred to as C-Suite for the highest executives in an organization – tend to fail when it comes to ‘walking the walk’ and taking action. While most executives are full of great ideas and suggestions, many fall flat when it comes to putting them into action.
Over the years, I’ve worked with many new and existing leaders who have become frustrated by the fragmented vision and purpose of their organization. When executives lose that desire to engage and to stay with the philosophy, it’s only common that problems will occur. No matter how much money is spent on employee engagement and team development, if the orders from the top aren’t of a suitable standard then nothing will improve.
Source of the Problem for C-Suite Leaders
C-Suite executives might not like to hear it, but they tend to be the source of the problems they pay so much money to fix. Despite being the main decision makers and takers in the company, they tend to be lacking in the strategic leadership skills the company needs to progress. As leadership psychologist blogger Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Russell Reynolds Associates CEO Clarke Murphy point out in Forbes, the majority of C-Suite leaders fail to play to their strengths.
These issues can have a major impact across the organization. Not only can it stop other leaders from making the right decisions due to poor planning from ‘up above’, it stops most of the employees from progressing, too. Their lack of ability to be strategic and work in a unified purpose that everyone is pulling towards is dangerous for the long-term health of the organization.
This causes problems with the organizational development, meaning that too many visions are being worked on concurrently without any cohesive movement. This stops other leaders, especially new ones, from being able to utilize their skills, hampering their own confidence and self-belief. All that money invested into strategic leadership skills is only part of it; leaders need to be given the chance to lead.
This is a major industry problem. Leaders are worried that, when they make it to the top of their company’s food chain, that they’ll become just like other C-Suite leaders who fail in creating corporate unity. This stops other leaders from being ambitious enough to pursue their dreams and make their dream for the company a reality.
What Makes a Strategic C-Suite Leader?
A major change has to come from perception. The perception of a C-Suite leader is someone who takes risks, who does not rely upon elitism or arrogance, and who opens the floor to wider thinking. They also are supposed to be motivational masterminds, helping everyone to buy into the corporate vision and aim.
This means that instead of trying to pursue their own agendas or deal with today without planning for tomorrow, they should be working as a delegator. They should be helping leaders of employees on the front line feel more inspired, to essentially pass down the company-wide directive, which includes a communication plan. Rather than trying to achieve their own mini-objectives, C-Suite leaders should be creating a feeling of positivity and ensure progress across the board.
Their purpose, broadly, is to work as a unifying platform. They should be the person who looks to help drive others to have a more specific purpose and aim. They have to be able to justify the money spent on employee development by seeing actual, tangible proof of development. Without a clear aim, though, no development can take place.
As such, they should be committed to serve others by not only giving them the chance to develop but to have a pathway to progress and removing obstacles. C-Suite leaders wind up serving their own agendas in many ways, instead of making sure everyone is working towards solving the one agenda.
It’s tough, of course, but I’ve worked with many people who are apprehensive about moving up the food chain for fear of falling into the same trap. From collecting input from leaders who collect input from employees, C-Suite leadership is supposed to be there to help be a driving force for all objectives, not just one.
This, though, does not have to be the case. There is no set-in-stone precedent for any leaders moving up to C-Suite that they have to experience the same woes.
How Strategic Leaders Can Improve
To make sure that you are not going to head down the one-way street to failure, various leadership programs exist – mine included!
I’ve helped to transform the mentality for many leaders to make sure that their move to the C-Suite level can help to cure their corporate culture ineffectiveness, not extend more of the same problems. While many see their superiors as the very thing they do not wish to become, they will be hesitant to push for ambitious career change through fear of becoming what they dislike.
However, through clear and effective strategic leadership principles and tactics, you can transform how you look at any particular problem. For some C-Suite leaders, we forget that leadership is characterized by our own experiences, our own personality and our level of maturity rather than just the position we hold, we need to get rid of the idea that we have to be like other C-Suite leaders.
They have identified six skills through research at the Wharlton School and another consulting firm involving more than 20,000 executives to date. These six skills when mastered and used collaboratively, allow leaders to think strategically and navigate the unknown effectively; the ability to anticipate, challenge, interpret, decide, align, and learn.
No, good leadership stems from something far more powerful; a desire to make the position your own. The good news is there isn’t only just one set of principles you can own to become a strategic leader: it’s also about adapting the leadership, within the confines of the organization aims, to suit your own capabilities and strengths.
By receiving constant feedback on how you act, you’ll find it much easier to see how your colleagues and employees see your leadership. This will give you much more insight, helping you to avoid becoming what makes you feel so lacking in ambition!
Being more strategic will help you to become a better pioneer of good ideas to improving how affirming you are to employees, make you a much more inclusive, commanding and respectable leader. In time, these changes will be the driving force that makes you want to grab the corporation by the scruff of the neck and be the C-Suite strategic leader your organization needs.
The only solution that many see is to simply stop progressing in a bid to avoid making the same mistakes. Losing this mindset, though, is your first step to progress. In fact, you must take command and start a corporate revolution, rather than accepting a fractured status quo that makes you relent in achieving what you always dreamt of.
Nothing says you need to be like your predecessors; learn how to set a new corporate culture of inclusion, building trust, higher commitment, accountability, and achieving better results for the employees, you the leader, and the organization.
C-Suite Leadership Assessment
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