Arguably, strategic leadership is the most critical issues facing organisations. At least there are dominant researchers who may support or oppose to that statement. This paper aims to critically evaluate these viewpoints by delineating different views about strategic leadership, comparing strategic leadership paradigm with other prominent leadership theories and emphasised six key components of this concept to guide organisation to sustain superior performance in the turbulence world.
On the first hand, the claim that leadership strategic role, has been promoted more than 50 years ago by Druker in his model for “leadership effectiveness” and it is believed that “leadership is of upmost importance (for organisational high performance), indeed there is no substitute for it” (Cohen 2008, p. 7). In addition, the anti-leadership theorist believes that leadership has only a small impact on the organizational outcomes. There are four leadership substitutes: closely affiliated teams, personal intrinsic satisfaction, high technology (computer) environment and professional norms and structure considered as important factors that provide guidance and incentives to organisational performance without strong leaders’ figure (Dubrin et al. 2006).
On the other hand, some researchers believe that there is a need to accentuate strategic leadership studies in respond to global changes in 21st century and marshal the organisation success in the future (Ireland and Hitt 2005). Leaders in public organisations face a great competitive challenges and great opportunity as well as complex internal and external dynamics that form great potential benefit but at the same time requires a great deals to cope with organisational challenges and threats in the turbulent world. Strategic leadership practically can be defined as a process of transforming an organisation through its vision, mission and values based on sustain assessment of internal and external organisational factors: culture and climate, structure and systems as well as through its strategy (Hughes and Beatty 2004). Strategic leadership probably is everything for the future of the organisation. Without ability to anticipate and envision the future opportunity and challenges, maintain flexibility in the midst of internal and external changes, facing greater pressures from broad stakeholders and on the other hand dealing with potential shortage of resources, leadership in the organisation should consider an offer made by the novel concept of strategic leadership. It will enable them to reach success in terms of winning sustainable public service value for its stakeholders (Van Mart 2003, Draft and Pirola-Merlo 2009).
Finally in addition to the benchmark study on the Australian public sector reform agenda, this paper will discuss the application of strategic leadership theory and offer reflection analysis on the role of strategic leadership in the Indonesian Ministry of Finance Reform during the last 3 years. The Indonesian Ministry of Finance has been developed a solid strategic leadership practices and become the pilot for the bureaucratic reform in all Indonesian public service institutions.