Are You Strategically Intelligent?

I’ve been talking about the five key elements of a leader who is strategically intelligent. There is no established assessment tool for strategic intelligence. In Narcissistic Leaders, author Michael Maccoby offers several questions that can help you self-assess your abilities as a strategically intelligent leader.

The real test of a leader’s strategic intelligence is in the workplace:

  • Foresight: How well do you stay abreast of marketplace trends? Do you excel at imagining new products, services and paradigms for the future?
  • Systems Thinking: Do you think in terms of systems, synthesizing and integrating feedback and hard-to-imagine possibilities?
  • Visioning: How well can you take an idea and translate it into a workable vision with measurable goals?
  • Motivating: Do you inspire others to buy into your vision and execute your ideas?
  • Partnering: How well do you forge strategic alliances, both internally and externally? Do you recognize that alliances are two-way streets and encourage collaboration?

There is a strong need for bold, visionary, productive narcissists who can lead companies through 21st-century periods of uncertainty, rapid innovations, and radical transitions. The best way to avoid leadership derailment is to steer narcissistic leaders onto stabilizing paths by developing their strategic intelligence.

Maccoby makes a strong case against obsessive, by-the-numbers personality types as leaders because their conservative approach to running companies doesn’t allow for sufficient risk-taking or innovation. Much depends, however, on the specific business environment.

If you’ve ever wondered how someone like Steve Jobs was successful as CEO of Apple, in spite of his lack of emotional intelligence, the answer may lie in his strengths as a productive narcissist, and his strategic intelligence.

The same can be said for many stellar leaders over the last 20 years: Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Andy Grove, Larry Ellison, Richard Branson and Herb Kelleher. Each is a strong personality with narcissistic tendencies of the productive kind. They work closely with others who complement their deficits, and they get the right things done.

Given the huge social and economic stakes, there’s a critical need to understand your own leadership personality. I don’t know of any better way to do this than working with an executive coach.

What do you think about leadership personality and its importance for creating business success in the coming decade? Are strong personalities and innovative mavericks rewarded and promoted in your company? I’d love to hear from you, you can contact me here or leave a comment right here on the blog.

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