Leadership Strengths: Strategic & Pragmatic

A young freshman cadet hurried down the hallway, running late for his next class at the military academy. Turning a corner, he suddenly collided with another student. Sprawled on the ground, he looked up and winced when he saw the derisive smirk on the face of the upperclassman he had just run into. As expected, the older cadet didn’t pass up the opportunity to haze the younger man; choosing his words carefully, the upperclassman said mockingly, “You look like a barber!”


The freshman’s ears reddened and he ducked his head as he quietly responded, “I was a barber, sir.” Startled by the coincidence, the senior cadet abruptly turned on his heel and strode off, hurrying toward his dorm room. Upon arriving in his room, obviously shaken, the upperclassman announced to his roommate that he would never haze another plebe again, explaining, “I’ve just done something stupid and unforgiveable. I managed to make a man ashamed of the work he did to earn a living.”


After that incident, West Point cadet Dwight D. Eisenhower strove to never humiliate, embarrass, or demean another person, no matter how annoyed he became. This personal resolution developed into a keen sense of diplomacy that served him exceedingly well as he slowly rose in military rank and ultimately became the 34th President of the United States.


Diplomacy is a mark of a leader who demonstrates strong strategic and pragmatic leadership. Leaders who are strategic and pragmatic are very perceptive, with a knack for pinpointing needs and striking compromise. Skillful at mediating conflict and diplomatically handling individual perspectives and attitudes, these leaders work well with people and tend to make discerning personnel decisions.


Planning for long-term results, strategic and pragmatic leaders make well-thought-out decisions based on facts and simple logic. These leaders are results-oriented and understand the value and importance of working together to reach the most desirable outcome.


How about you, which of your leadership strengths—like the diplomacy of Dwight Eisenhower–can you improve and better leverage to become a more effective strategic and pragmatic leader? By focusing on improving and applying your leadership strengths, you can become a leader who:

  • Is perceptive to needs and individual perspectives
  • Is skilled at striking compromise
  • Is extremely results-oriented
  • Plans for long term results


Properly answering this question, and taking focused, purposeful action based on your answer, not only can, but will improve your personal, professional and organizational leadership!



This is the first in a series of eight articles highlighting important leadership strengths demonstrated by some of the world’s most powerful and influential leaders—former United States Presidents. I feature these same strengths in my inspirational presentation, Presidential Leadership, designed to encourage and equip participants to identify, leverage, and apply their own leadership strengths. Please stay tuned as we look at seven more areas of leadership strengths in the weeks to come!



NielsenCopyright © 2013 by Dan Nielsen – www.dannielsen.com

National Institute for Healthcare Leadership – www.nihcl.com

America’s Healthcare Leaders – www.americashealthcareleaders.com

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