There are as many approaches to the position and power of an organisational leader, as there are leaders. However, the two most successful types (of those researched upon and documented) happen to be the Strategist and the Alchemist.
So who are the Strategists?
The Harvard Business Review tells us that globally Strategists account for just 4% of our leaders. What sets them apart is their focus on organisational constraints and perceptions, which they treat as flexible real time opportunities or challenges. The Strategists are masters of organisational impact of actions and agreements. In plain speak, they hold themselves responsible for all actions and don’t pass the blame buck onto the Board of Directors. The Strategists are also adept at creating shared visions across different verticals. Their visions encourage both personal (including that those of the employees) and organisational transformations. According to the Strategist’s action logic, organisational and social change is a continuous process that requires awareness and close leadership attention for real development to take place.
Strategists deal with conflict more comfortably and are better at handling people’s instinctive resistance to change. As a result, Strategists are highly effective change agents. Goli Vadapav and GenPact both lay testimonials to this type of leadership. Both succeeded in generating one or more organisational transformations over a two year period; their companies’ profitability, brand equity, and reputation all improved. Strategic entrepreneurs are not scared of overhauling their systems and old ways of working even in the initial stages as long as they view development and growth as a continuous process.
The next type of successful leadership calls forth the Alchemists amongst the leaders.
Studies have shown that the few leaders identified as Alchemists have the innate ability to renew or even reinvent themselves and their organisations in historically significant ways. The Strategist will move from one engagement to another, whereas the Alchemist has an extraordinary capacity to deal simultaneously with many situations at multiple levels. According to the Harvard Business review, the Alchemist can talk with both kings and commoners. He can deal with immediate priorities yet never lose sight of long-term goals.
However, they are never in a rush nor do they devote hours on end to a single activity. Alchemists are typically charismatic and extremely aware individuals who live by high moral standards. They focus intensely on the truth. A good example would be Nelson Mandela who wore a white supremacist jersey and walked onto a football field with the clenched fist symbolising the freedom struggle of the black folks. Only Mandela could have done that and in one evening, he won over not only black but white South African supporters as well. He had won over the enemy and that’s typically how an Alchemist entrepreneur works his magic.
Whichever be your personal style of leadership, rest assured you would find some useful tips to follow from both, the Strategists as well as the Alchemists.