Importance of Leadership Skills to Manage Strategic Change

Strategic Change

Change is inevitable for organizations to stay competitive and survive in the market. For its big importance, companies try to understand facts that can help them implement change the proper way and get the prospect benefits. And change can reach to different sides of the organization including structure, strategy, staff, culture, customer relationship…etc. But implementing change, especially on the strategic level, requires different talents including management and leadership skills.

To apply strategic change in the organization, there is a need to leaders that can guide this change. A new published study has stressed on the role and importance of leadership in the implementation and success of strategic change in any organization.

Change cannot succeed if not lead by members with leadership personality and kills. As the study stated “the concept of leadership remains important, because introducing significant changes in an organization ‘needs often a champion able to demonstrate an unusual commitment and exceptional enthusiasm to implement his vision’”.

To perform change effectively, the leader needs different skills. Researchers of the above mentioned study which is published in a Journal of Organizational Management Studies cited a list of these “necessary skills of the leader for a better management of this type of transformation.”

As discussed in the research, the leader of change needs to provide a strategic vision, identify the need for change and seek a new strategic response, communicate well the limits of the old strategy and the merits of the new one, overcome the resistance to change, use power and developing a political support, and motivate staff.

To lead transformation process the leader who is in charge need to have enough skills to develop a vision and build a good strategy.  “The strategy is a vision; it is entirely oriented to what an organization should be rather than how it will be” the study stated.

The elements required for a strategist as mentioned in the study is the ability “to anticipate the future, to create a line to follow, a vital direction for him, his team or the organization. To share his vision, he must understand and know others, their needs, aspirations and values and know how to talk to them.”

Moreover, researchers identified some elements that the strategist leader needs to succeed in his mission. They stated that the leader should “Be creative… creativity plays an important role in the quality of decisions: the ability to propose innovative solutions is essential to decision-making process such as the development of new opportunities and problems diagnosis.”

Also, he needs to “develop his skills in strategic leadership. Based on the fact that leadership is the key differentiating factor between sustainable success and mediocrity… (And) seek information on the environment in general and know immediately the whole context of problems and issues which arise, allowing the leader to develop ideas and holistic solutions”.

Besides, successful strategist needs “to have a strong conceptual ability enabling leaders to better understand the internal and external environments and to identify trends, stakes and opportunities… (And) have the ability to think in a flexible manner… Flexibility is essential in a professional environment in constant evolution.

The other important thing that the leader needs in his duty is to communicate the change he’s leading with the staff. “One of the most important functions of a clearly communicated strategy is to guide employees towards choices to be made. However, to realize such operation, the strategic change should be based on substantial efforts of dialogue and communication at every level of the organization and throughout the change process” as stated in the study.

Among the other key element of success for change leaders is to understand how to overcome resistance to change from the staff and convince them with the importance of that change. And above convincing the staff, there is also a need to motivate. As stated in the research “leaders must also generate enough confidence so that their teams accept, despite the uncertainty, the portrait of change which they deal with, and its potential impacts and conclude that exploration presents more benefits than risks.”