Strategic Leadership: Definition, Levels, Styles, Examples

From any era, businesses have been established by the strategic leadership qualities of the founders. Any business can succeed if the leader knows the right strategies to grow his company. In simple words, any of the successful companies, including Apple, Amazon, etc, have started with the right vision and leadership. 

A lot of things have been immersed in the leadership to establish a successful business. In this article, we have mentioned various types of leadership styles and levels. It will help you understand the role of strategic leadership in growing the company. Thus, you should strategically decide your company’s roadmap. 

Let’s begin the guide !! 

What is Strategic Leadership?

Strategic leadership refers to a kind of leadership in which leaders influence their colleagues and team members to work to achieve common goals and objectives. The team leaders have to work with creativity, vision, and long-term focus. It helps the leaders to show the right direction to the members and achieve the required results. In this leadership, you have to motivate and encourage the employees to work with unity for better results. 

Strategic Leadership
Strategic Leadership

The core objective of this strategic leadership is to streamline the required processes, boost productivity, promote innovation, and create a healthy environment. It allows you to implement the best possible strategies and methodologies in your business. This is how you will get better competitive results in the market. It also requires adopting various changes such as technology, economics, and more. In this way, you will increase your chances of succeeding. 

Strategic Leadership Definition 

Strategic leadership is defined as the ability of the leader to visualize, plan, lead, and utilize the resources in the best way. It allows you to utilize effective strategic plans to achieve the required goals. In leadership, you have to think creatively and independently to lead employees. A leader must have various qualities to obtain better results from their team members. 

What is Strategic Leadership and Management 

Strategic leadership and management is an authoritative step towards guiding the team members. It is basically used for leading a long-term project. Here, a leader has to plan, execute, manage, and adapt all the required strategies and tactics in the project. The main function of a leader is to not only set goals but also encourage their employees. 

Leaders must thoroughly understand the business environment, its capabilities, and evolutions. Plus, you, as a leader, also have to make sure that all the resources are very well allocated. In simple words, a leader has to maintain a balance between everything in an ongoing project. It will allow you to tackle the challenges and utilize opportunities properly. 

3 Levels of Strategic Management 

Level 1: Corporate Strategy 

As the name suggests, corporate-level strategy is the game of top-level management. Here, the CEOs and senior executive officers plan the overall direction of a strategy of an organization. All people involved in this strategy building generally have a thorough understanding of company and strategy building. Hence, this strategic management level allows the overall company to run and proceed in the right direction. It is the widest form of all the strategy levels because it decides the entire future of the company, at least for the next 3-5 years. 

Level 2: Business Strategy 

In the strategic hierarchy, the business strategy level is at the second tier. Here, managers and other such profiles work on managing and assigning the required tasks to suitable candidates. It helps businesses to achieve their main goals and objectives. This level of strategy is generally useful for organizations with multiple business units. For instance, companies should sell a variety of products or services in the market. In simple words, this strategic level supports corporate-level strategies. You create and assign the required responsibilities at this stage to achieve the main business goals. 

Level 3: Functional Strategy 

Functional strategic management levels refer to the operations of the business. At this stage, employees are more concerned about completing the assigned tasks. It makes the companies take some actual steps in the right direction. This strategic stage not only includes the production stage but also others. It includes the marketing, finance, and human resources of the company. Employees don’t need to plan anything here. They just have to finish the tasks on the required deadlines. In simple words, this stage makes your company maintain all the essential daily tasks. Hence, your company grows in the right direction.  

8 Different Strategic Leadership Styles 

1. Democratic Leadership

As the name suggests, democratic leadership style means deciding by considering the equal input of all the members. A leader has to go through each of the possibilities, opportunities, and drawbacks before confirming any decision. Still, every team member has equal rights to change or suggest anything at any time. Board meetings are one of the best examples of democratic leadership, where all the board members reach a decision through mutual considerations. In this leadership style, the main leading personality should have certain qualities. For instance, they should know collaboration, trust-building, and have emotional intelligence. 

2. Laissez-Faire Leadership 

Laissez-faire leadership consists of a concept to let the team members have the authority. The main idea behind this leadership style is to utilize the self-leadership and self-esteem of the employees. When the employees have made certain decisions, they would feel more responsibility towards the work. In this type of leadership, you have several characters. For example, you need to provide limited guidance, interfere minimally, provide more freedom, and trust your employees. In simple words, this leadership style develops a relaxed company culture. Therefore, employees would work more happily and productively in your company. 

3. Transformational Leadership 

In transformational leadership, a leader has to develop a vision and guide employees based on it. It allows the entire company or a project to work based on the leader’s vision. In this leadership, every other employee has to transform themselves to cope with the strategies. The only motive of this leadership style is to benefit the company. It includes hitting the required goals and objectives for the growth and welfare of the company. In this strategic leadership, every process has to remain adaptive as required.

4. Transactional Leadership 

Transactional leadership refers to clearly describing the required expectations to everyone. It includes estimated efforts in the processes and results. This is a complete balance of strategic management and leadership for all the employees. Here, you have to measure the performances of each employee and motivate them through rewards. It directly encourages the employees individually to perform better in terms of achieving organizational results. You can motivate the employees by providing different types of rewards. It could include payment increments, promotions, bonuses, etc. However, you can also punish or penalize them for bad performances. It will allow them to respect their work and always give their best with complete honesty. 

5. Autocratic Leadership 

An autocratic leader is the just opposite of a democratic strategic leadership style. Here, the leader makes all the decisions without collecting any input from any team member or employee. This leadership style is generally used in certain situations, such as an emergency crisis. Because at such times, only a wise and calm brain should act properly. In this approach, leaders develop strategies by focusing on all the essentials. This strategy also has various specified characteristics. For example, it follows centralized decision-making, lesser delegation, more focus on hierarchy and status, etc. You should consider only two factors before adopting this leadership style. It is the personal character traits of the leader and the situation of your business. 

6. Coaching Leadership 

As the name sounds, coaching leadership refers to training the employees. It should be executed based on the individual strengths and weaknesses of the employees. In this leadership style, the organization’s main focus is on the employee’s growth. The project leader has to provide required tasks, guidance, and timely constructive feedback to the employees. All this helps the employees to develop their work expertise in the company. It even enhances the worth of an employee. The coaching leadership style also allows the team members or employees to learn holistically from each other as well. 

7. Bureaucratic Leadership 

Bureaucratic leadership is one of the most used leadership styles among the companies. It is a little similar to autocratic leadership, as the main leader crafts all the required rules here. However, other members can also give their opinions, which might be agreed or disagreed by the leader. Such decisions are made based on the company’s policies and regular practices. Large-sized companies generally prefer this leadership style. It allows them to be consistent with their existing strategies and not try anything new. The best thing about this leadership style is that it allows you to do what’s required for the company because you have to follow all the rules and regulations here strictly. 

8. Visionary Leadership 

Visionary leadership is a style that works upon the idea of focusing on long-term goals and objectives. Here, all the team members get inspired by a set common vision. The leader has to encourage collaboration, emotional intelligence, and teamwork. It allows all the employees to innovate with new ideas and approaches. Visionary leaders have very powerful communication skills that allow them to boost other people with energy. As vision is created for the company’s growth in the future, the leader also creates a roadmap to achieve the required goals and objectives. In this strategic leadership style, a main leader encourages everyone through his/her vision. It allows all of them to hit their common goal. 

Real-Life Examples of Strategic Leadership

Example #1: Space-X

Elon Musk founded SpaceX, which is a very good example of strategic leadership and innovation. The founder is one of the best leaders in the world. He has led the entire company with an unbelievable vision and made it come true. This is a true example of visionary leadership. Because the idea of SpaceX always seems visionary, which is used to motivate everyone to make the impossible seem possible. Eventually, he succeeded because of his leadership qualities. 

Example #2: Apple 

Steve Jobs established Apple as a leading company in the technological market. It is one of the best strategic leadership examples. He has always utilized his leadership qualities to work with his qualitative employees. With his team, he has focused on creating devices with certain qualities that differ from their products. For instance, they wanted their devices to be easy to use, have top-notch customer service, and be very simple. Their simple ideas and beautiful strategic leadership have formed this big company. 


Leadership plays a crucial role in the growth of any company or specific project. We have mentioned everything you should know about strategic leadership in this guide. Therefore, we suggest you strategically decide your leadership way through this guide. It will practically boost your company’s growth.

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