A Model for Strategic Leadership

Role:  To do everything possible for our people to succeed

System:  Good character coupled with effective method-procedures

Philosophy:  Voice & reach

Method:  Responsible leaders for responsible people 



To do everything possible for

our people to succeed 

This becomes the benchmark and focal thought for anyone wanting to accomplish anything through the people of his or her organization. Strategic People Management is looking at all aspects of a situation and giving the employee the opportunity to heuristically understand what you are bringing to them. By examining all possible processes, through both your and their filters, you are doing everything possible for your people to succeed. This is only demonstrated through strong character & leadership attributes channeled through effective methods, processes and procedures. By building trust in the process, a leader will maximize the capability & growth of his or her people—their gifts, talents and abilities—through a foundation of relationship intelligence!


Coupled with the role of a leader is the definition of leadership. Chuck Swindoll, chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary, shares that leadership is “inspiring influence with the ability to get along well with others.” Within the desire to serve in a manner that inspires and changes the lives of those he leads, a leader continues to be both respected and sought out by the people he directly serves.




Good character coupled with

effective method-procedures 

One without the other is ineffective in the development & management of people within any organization. The non-profits have traditionally emphasized exhaustively the topic of character throughout time. The for-profit organization has continued to focus on the need for sound methods and procedures. Neither arena as a solo focus has shown to be effective in leading & managing people. Character or methods each by themselves fail. 


Character is the foundation for effective leadership within any organization. Character and leadership must be developed within leaders first if good method and procedures are to follow. However, character without sound methods brings about a growing distrust and low motivation in those we lead. Too often we see an organization with methods that are written by those who know the job. On paper the methods may look perfect, yet without a leader that is founded in a character of doing the right thing at the right time, the methods ultimately fail. The reverse (a display of character without good methods) fails as well.  An effective leader/ manager needs good character first, synergized with sound methods and procedures to develop a growing team!




Voice & reach 

At the heart of leadership is relating through one’s voice & one’s reach. Voice & reach is communicating to a person as if you were wearing their glasses. What would you say to them so they get it?  

Voice and Reach is becoming all things to all people…communicating and meeting your people in a place of understanding which they understand. The content can be the same, yet the process will be different for different people.  Too often, we assume what we share was understood by everyone.  Why? Because it was understood by ourselves. 

Understanding its value, the path in how we talk with people, becomes vital for voice & reach to be present. Jesus Christ, a model for true servant leadership, communicated to all people, at all times with a process that included the following: 

Dignity—being sensitive so as not to hurt the person’s overall being/person . . . acting humanly 

            Respect—treating others as I would want to be treated…..with value. 

Compassion—giving the employee the extra break, one last time . . . remembering the first rule of psychology.  

            Integrity—doing what you say you will do, every time, your word being your bond. 




Responsible leaders for responsible employees 

There is a wise saying: If you want RESPONSIBLE people, you must be RESPONSIBLE yourself. This is leadership by example. Note there are 2 parts to responsible leadership: 

·         Facilitating the Vision & Direction

·         Implementing the Vision & Direction


Facilitating the Vision & Direction has the leader placed at the top of a right-side up triangle model, sharing and facilitating all aspects of the corporate vision to all his or her people.  Why?   Because people continually cry out for both clarity and focus within their jobs and the organization where they work. Effective facilitation of the organization’s processes, procedures and methods will give the people the direction they desire. This can include making known the mission and values, working with accurate job descriptions, and presenting one’s job practices and policies.  As a leader facilitates the many aspects of the organization’s vision, it is hoped that the people will then implement what has been shown. 



Implementing the Vision & Direction in a healthy way is demonstrated by an upside-down triangle-model.  As shown by the arrows, it is the people who implement the vision of the organization. As the vision is carried out, it is now the role of the leader to serve (and continue to facilitate) and assist the people in carrying out their responsibilities within the organization. 

Note, however, what happens when you have a leader telling the people how to implement the vision & direction (“Do this…do that”). The triangle places the leader once again on the top, this time pulling the people along. Isn’t this a demonstration of pride, ego and ambition on the part of the manager?  (I would stop calling the person a leader as well!) 



In looking at the models above, ask yourself, as a leader, are you going to be a DUCK, telling people what to do (quack, quack),  or an EAGLE, empowering your people to implement what needs to occur while you lead through serving them? 

When you facilitate proper vision and implement the vision through your people, I believe you have no choice but to become both responsible and the servant leader.



The four areas of Strategic Leadership should become the road map for all interaction with your people on the job.  A person often does well communicating on an individual basis when outside the work place. However, one tends to fall dramatically short in relational intelligence when on the job leading and managing others. To be successful, leaders/managers must first look at whom they serve and then apply the areas of strategic leadership to bring together their leadership character with the methods of the organization. Until this happens, leaders will be guided by their personal or corporate ambition at the expense of their followers. 

Are we not stewards of the people entrusted to us to lead?



About the author:


Ron Smedley is president of Synergistic Resource Associates, a full-service human resource/development consulting group that works directly with both marketplace and ministry organizations.  As a professional human resource generalist, Ron is often called upon in the area of labor law interpretation and policy/procedure writing with the focus on practically, strategically, and relationally synergizing the systems of the organization with the development of their leadership and employees.  Besides consulting full-time, Ron instructs graduate adult students at Biola University and Claremont Graduate Universities within leadership, performance management, personal and corporate conflict, human resource strategy and ethics courses.


Ron’s passion is seeing men, women and organizations grow beyond their paradigm and the “box” they so often place themselves within.  For questions or support surrounding this article or other people development areas, email him at ron.smedley@sraonline.net or call 714.993.5003. His office is located in Placentia, CA.



Ronald F. Smedley

President of Synergistic Resource Associates (SRA)



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