Recently I had the good fortune of working with several military leaders. It was both a wonderful and humbling opportunity, and I learned a great deal about leadership from these officers.
One thing I learned about their view of leadership is that it is multi-leveled. Leadership is not just about strategic leadership. Certainly, complex problems need creative thinkers. The most complex issues we face never really have definitive answers. Creative thinking is critical.
However, leadership also requires tactical and operational thinkers. Every issue is not a strategic issue. Sometimes it is the day-to-day issues that need to be dealt with in real time that are most critical.
Too often leadership is thought of only as strategic leadership. This, certainly, is a critical component. However, organizations must also develop their tactical and operational leadership skills, as well. All three are critical for effective leadership.
In developing next-leader talent, it is critical for organizations to focus on all three levels of leadership. Creating strategic thinkers is great, but may not help get day-to-day issues resolved. Creating only tactical and operational leadership makes an organization vulnerable to complex problems. Developing next-leader talent requires a combination of all three.