Strategic leadership for strategic change management


Changes in the external environment and the need of the organizations to be more agile and flexible have also changed the role of leadership viz-a-viz strategic change management. Traditional role of leadership was authoritarian, but the leadership styles are shifting more towards open and participative style of management. The skills required for successful leadership have also changed because of the consistent need of collaboration, cooperation and communication.

Organizational output and managerial behaviors are in general, determined by the situations faced by the organization. Middle level managers usually have limited freedom and ability to make decisions in response to the external environment to change the performance of the organization. The top management of an organization has greater authority and freedom to make decisions regarding strategic change management for maximizing final output of the organization and the performance. The overall performance of the organization is thus responsibility of the top management and hence they have stronger influences on the process of strategic management. Strategic leadership of an organization requires strong powers of the decision making; hence the leadership has a strong influence on the future and current direction of the organization. The theory of strategic leadership states that the top management, their attitudes and thinking is strongly reflected in the organization and the decision and decision making style of the leadership reflects the preferences, values, experience and knowledge of the leaders. This theory has led to an assumption that the responsibility of strategic leadership is the sole responsibility of top level manager. Their primary responsibility is tie identify and define a vision and direct all efforts to achieve this vision. This has resulted in isolating the top level manager or leadership from the followers, resulting in a top down directive hierarchy.


The theory of strategic leadership has been quite successful in helping the organizations achieve their goals. The dynamic environment of current times and globalization of the economy have resulted in making this theory less successful and less relevant. The predictability and stability in the earlier times resulted on successful management of ambiguity and uncertainty. Change was considered to be linear and the competition was limited to the local markets. Organizational structure was generally hierarchical. The 360 degree change in the market from localization to globalization, shorter life cycles of products and dynamic conditions requires contribution from all of the employees of the organization and the direction of the organization is no longer responsibility of one individual. The changing environment has resulted in distributing the responsibility of the strategic leadership and high rate of involvement of employees and collaboration. 

The complexity and dynamism of the external environment has resulted in making collective intellect of teams rather than one individual crucial for effectiveness of strategic leadership. Organizations are dealing with numerous stakeholders which could be unmanageable for an individual. The multiplicity of stakeholders and globalization requires the top management team to be heterogeneous and diverse. The organizations are more inclined to be either matrix or flat in structure, to allow the employees to act as partners.

The identification and clear and accurate definition of the vision of the organization is very important. The successful implementation of strategic change is significantly impacted by the clear articulation of the vision of the organization. After clearly defining the vision, communication of this vision to the employees of the organization is vital to solicit commitment and create understanding of the vision. The future vision of the organization results in transformations in order to achieve the vision. The role of the Strategic change leadership requires the leaders to communicate vision, create plans, and involve and motivate employees for achieving the strategic change goals