A Strategic Manager is somebody who has the complete buy-in of their team. They always look calm, cool, and collected, because they seem to know what’s coming and how to handle it. When a fire erupts, they immediately turn into the fire chief, rather than a firefighter. They organize the team’s command center (literal or metaphorical) before fires even start for strategy and response, similar to how emergency teams prepare for and respond to crises.
On a day-to-day standpoint, Strategic Managers spend a lot of time connecting with their teams, which builds a level of trust between those individuals that just doesn’t exist with an Exhausted Hero (aka. firefighter). Strategic Managers hold one-on-ones with individuals on their team, and check in on projects without diving in and being involved in the projects themselves. They don’t spend a lot of time in extra computer systems; they don’t even pull their own reports. They spend their days primarily in meetings and communicating via email.
If this sounds horrible to you, and exemplifies what you hate about leadership, you must realize that all these emails and meetings a have singular, powerful purpose: to mobilize.
Communication is the only way to mobilize teams. When strategically mobilized, a team can always achieve better results than a solo Exhausted Hero. That’s why Strategic Managers invest so much time and energy into connecting with their team, to mobilize efficiently and effectively.
When not mobilizing, Strategic Managers spend their days looking ahead, seeing what’s coming, and brainstorming how to influence the coming weeks and months. “This project is going to miss a deadline. How do I get that in front of the people that need to know about it now?” Or, “We’re going to need more resources on this project. Who can make time to help us?” Or, “We’re going to need to shift this to another plant. How do we do that? Let’s start thinking about that now.” They don’t wait until there are twenty-four hours left to address issues, because they see them coming in advance and can anticipate needs and resources.
If you are managing an Exhausted Hero who needs to elevate their skills to Strategic Manager, consider hiring an Executive Coach or implementing a Leadership Development Program for your company. They most likely will not figure it out themselves. Invest in your team today!