12 Top Characteristics of the Strategic Leadership Style

In a modern era with so many people looking to be leaders, it is those with vision and a drive to succeed that stand out. The idea of strategic leadership is allowing those with the drive to succeed be in positions of power to lead and grow companies. To grow and become a strategic leader, learn from these 12 characteristics to be the next great strategic leader.

1. Purpose Driven
At the heart of every strategic leader is a strong purpose. The purpose that gets the leader up in the morning gets them into work every day and allows them to inspire others with this same vision. Strategic thinkers are often praised for their ability to look forward, and a purpose will inspire that.

People like to follow leaders with a vision because it gives them a sense of confidence in seeing that the leader has a plan. Even if you are not entirely sure where you want to go, having an idea is more than most have.

2. Bold
When you look at leaders like Elon Musk, you can clearly see that he is bold and does not care what others think of him. While he is an extreme example, looking to leaders like him who are bold in their actions and intentions will lead to the respect of others.

Being bold in execution and planning allows you to think big and get more people on board with your thinking.

3. Open-minded
Just because you are the leader of a group does not mean you don’t have something to learn. It is often the leaders that take the time to be open-minded and listen to others who succeed most. Giving others the time to share and give feedback will both improve their attitude and offer you new perspectives.

Being open-minded doesn’t have to mean taking everyone else’s advice but listening to concerns and feedback from other people will make you a more effective and well-rounded leader.

4. Integrity
Every great leader who was respected by others was so because they had a core of integrity. Integrity is the foundation of your character and is a reflection of who you really are and how others see you. Anyone can act like a leader in the spotlight, but times of failure reveal your true integrity.

What you do when nobody is looking is who you really are whether that is helping others or spreading rumors. Who you are in the darkness will eventually be revealed when you are in the spotlight.

5. Honest
Honesty is the best policy and a leader who is honest with themselves and others will not create false hope. Knowing what you can and can’t get done will ensure you are not working to an impossible goal and that your team is motivated to keep working.

Sharing your wins and losses will ensure that your team believes in your strategic vision and is not being unfairly misled. An honest leader will be respected and followed by many.

6. Curious
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but its what inspires the leader. Always looking for new ways to think and act will allow you to deal with adverse situations and new challenges. You can learn things by taking an interest in your peers and learning from them to help grow yourself.

Being curious doesn’t mean taking too many risks, but not being afraid to fail in the pursuit of potential success makes excellent leaders. You can soothe your curiosity from learning new skills and learning from those you wish to emulate.

7. Self-motivated
Inspiring others to follow your vision requires you to be the most invested out of anyone in following and carrying out that vision. Being a self-motivated worker who can find and retain the necessary motivation to succeed is essential to your ability to strategically act and influence others.

Knowing what you need to personally do to get things done and having the internal drive to actually act will keep you ahead of the pack in every situation.

8. Communication
Many say that communication is key to a healthy relationship, and being a business leader means to you have to be a master of communication. Having the necessary communication skills required to lead and guide others in getting things done is what will motivate others to follow you and know what to do.

Being clear in what you need and expect from others will ensure that there are no miscommunications between you and your workers. Additionally, you must be open with your words so that people can understand what to do to help turn your vision into a realistic task.

9. Delegation
The best leaders aren’t the ones who do everything themselves, but they are the ones who know who is effective at what and can do whatever it takes to get people on the right track. Being able to delegate tasks to those who are suited for certain strengths means that your business will be highly efficient.

Nobody wants to be bossed around, but careful and considerate delegation will allow you to assign tasks based on skill and ability. Delegating tasks you are not great at to someone who has mastered the act will have everyone doing what they are naturally best at.

10. Empathetic
Your vision is a representation of what it is you want to achieve, and you need to understand that others need to find a way into your vision. Being empathetic about what others need and want will allow you to understand their situations and emotions so you can better serve them as a visionary leader.

Having empathy means that you are able to feel for the emotions of others and relate with them on a deeper level. Being an empathetic leader will result in a better understanding of those who work for you and create a better working relationship.

11. Adaptable
Being the head of an organization means that when a decision needs to be made, it falls on you to pull the trigger. Being adaptable and ready for change allows you to try out new ideas that may drastically change your business. Adaptation is a natural survival tool and will ensure your business is ready.

Strategic leaders can be easily thrown off by a surprise change to some factor of business and being adaptable means that you are ready to take on and thrive under any new changes.

12. Clear
When leading others with a powerful vision, it is as important for you as it is for your followers that your vision is clear. If you can’t actually picture and see a clear vision of what it is you are hoping to achieve, then it will be infinitely harder to push others to get there.

Being clear doesn’t mean that you have all the answers to your problem, but it does mean that you know what the end result should look like and you are ready to do what it takes to get there.


A strategic leader can be just the force people need to inspire them to take on new and challenging tasks. With these 12 characteristics, you can transform into the strategic leader that will take your company to the next level.

Author Biography
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.