Every manager has abilities and preferences for how they accomplish work. Everyone does not possess the ability or desire to function strategically, tactically and operationally. Highly effective leaders will help identify your strengths and position you to thrive using your strengths while improving or offsetting your weaknesses. Many managers are quite comfortable within an operational capacity but lack the ability or interest to think strategically while others prefer a mix of being able to participate in strategy setting sessions while overseeing operations. Understanding your strengths and preferences will help you and your team perform at higher levels.
Understanding the Differences Between Being Strategic, Tactical or Operational
Being strategic involves envisioning the future and the possibilities needed to achieve future states—it involves the thinking aspect of planning. Being tactical involves being able to develop plans to achieve broader goals—it involves making the complex simple and creating the steps needed to accomplish goals. Being operational involves implementing, monitoring and evaluating the action steps involved in getting work the done.
Using Your Strengths
Understanding the differences between being strategic, tactical and operational can be helpful if you are interested in developing professionally or if you seek advancement to another type of role in the future. Use your strengths to accomplish work and develop employees in your current position. If you have strengths managing from an operational perspective, determine the top ways you can best use them to accomplish goals and support those of your supervisor. You should strive to complete your work and empower your employees to complete theirs while also serving as a resource and source of value for your supervisor. Being effective in each of these roles involves understanding your strengths and how they can be used or leveraged for effectiveness.
Take Advantage of Growth Opportunities
You will most likely encounter opportunities to step outside of your comfort zone and do work for which you have little or no formal training or experience. Take advantage of these opportunities to learn, develop and prove that you are capable and willing to accept new challenges. Doing so demonstrates your professionalism and abilities. Your participation and performance are evidence of your potential and may influence which future opportunities are presented to you.
- You can learn to develop your abilities to be more strategic, tactical or operational.
- Once you understand the expectations for your role, you can implement plans to leverage your strengths and improve weaker areas.
- Within your first week, discuss expectations for your role with your supervisor. Ask them about their expectations for you and to what extent they prefer you be strategic, tactical or operational.