Characteristics of Strategic Leaders

Here is a checklist of some of the characteristics of Christian leaders who think strategically :

Strategic leaders have some insight into the spiritual dimension of what it means for the Kingdom of God if their organization's vision is achieved - that the achievement of vision is not in itself an end, but rather a contribution towards the coming of God's Kingdom ie where God's rule will govern the behaviour of the world.

Leaders who think strategically are able to picture a range of possibilities several stages ahead of the current phase of organizational development. Like a good chess player, it was said of Napoleon that he could envisage several steps ahead, with the various permutations of competitive response. For the Christian leader, there may not be a competitive response, but rather a series of internal and external reactions that may alter the action that needs to be taken at subsequent stages.

Strategic leadership is pragmatic rather than "head in the clouds". The strategies developed will lead to tactics which will need to engage with, and succeed in, the real world. These strategies must therefore be based on a realistic appraisal of the environment in which the organization finds itself, the resources at its disposal and the opportunities that exist. Nehemiah had a great vision for rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, yet was pragmatic enough to make tactical decisions which prevented his enemies from blocking progress towards the vision.

Strategic leaders have a great understanding of timing - have the patience to wait until the timing is right to make a major intervention, yet have the boldness to strike decisively when the moment is right. They, and their organizations, are alert and ready to seize an opportunity. (cf Men of Issachar (1 Chron 15:??) - men who knew the times)

Leaders who's current work is future focused are more likely to be working strategically : who invest their time in developing people and capability for the future of the organization as well as managing the current needs of the organization. Joseph as Prime Minister of Egypt after his time in jail was ensuring that the appropriate provisions were made for the time of famine which lay ahead.

A strategic leader Is willing to work with others in alliances and agreements to make a more significant intervention than either party would be able to make alone. If necessary is willing to subjugate the organization's need for recognition to making progress against a broader agenda for change. Pause for Thought : Review the above six characteristics, not only for yourself but for other key members of your church or organization. Who do you perceive to be able to contribute to strategic discussions about how your vision can be realized.

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