Module 5 – Practical Leadership


Understand the significance of a leader’s focus across three levels, alongside mastering the three crucial steps of leadership decision-making, fostering a comprehensive understanding essential for effective leadership.


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Welcome to the next segment.

Now, we spent quite a bit of time talking about leadership theories and hopefully, over the last three days, you’ve managed to learn a little bit about 3 different approaches to leadership theory, but also reflected on how they might apply to you in your work situation.

Now I did introduce four areas of leadership theory. We’re going to leave contingency theories to one side since perhaps they’re beyond the scope of this program. Just be aware that sometimes, leadership is about getting the right person for the right time, the right job. The classic example there is Winston Churchill, as a prime minister, as a leader of the country. He was a great success as wartime leader maybe not such a great success as a peacetime leader. So, a man for his time. A right man for the right job. I think.

So, let’s leave that approach to one side and let’s spend today talking more about practical leadership. ÿAnd there’s two areas I want to look at. The first of all, it’s the level of leadership focus. As a leader, we need to think about what we do, what our team does on three different levels. Now, the everyday level is the tactical level. It’s the battles we fight, the fires we put out day to day. And as a manager, that is very much the way you live and work all the time. It’s fighting the battles of today, the tactical battle.

But as a leader you need to start to think at a higher level. And then what we might talk about in the next level is the operational level. That will vary in scope according to the size of your business. But let’s just say you work in a large business. The operational level is not your team, but it may be the business unit, or the division that you work in. It’s how that business entity relate to the wider business, than the business outside. And that’s pretty much the operation level. Your part in the bigger picture.

So, beyond the tactical and the operational level, we then start to think about the strategic level. That’s the really big picture. The picture beyond the business. And we start to think about what’s going on in the environment outside, in the market. And we start to think about the political, the economic, the social, the technological, the environmental and the legal issues that surround the business. But all of those will affect you, what you do, and what your team does.

So, we do need to understand them, and as a leader, you need to be thinking about those and how they apply to your business. No, they wouldn’t make a difference by and large at the tactical level, but they will start to make a change, they will start to have an impact at the operational level. And as a leader, whatever the size of business, you need to be thinking about how the strategic influences start to impact on your business and how you are going to convert those to a tactical level of what your team does on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute basis.

The task for today is to think about how much time do you spend on the tactical? How much time do you spend thinking about the bigger picture, the context within which your team sits, the operational and the strategic level?

The other thing that you’ll see in the text is a little bit about what leaders do. And we split that up into three distinct areas. It’s analysing, deciding and delivering, or acting, if you like. Clearly, a leader must spend time analysing. Yes, gut instinct is great. But there is a time for analysis. But not too much. We don’t want paralysis by analysis. But it’s also then being able to make a clear, considered, definite, timely decision and then acting. And so also reflect while you are thinking about the different levels, tactical, operational, and strategic, about how you spend time split between analysis, decision, delivery. So two areas, broad areas. You just have to think about how you spend your time and where your effort is and maybe, just maybe, you might want to change the amount of time you spend on each one of those areas.

So best of luck on thinking about that one. And we’ll start to pull this segment together in the next video as we pull all relationship theory together into one practical whole.