At Different Levels

Leadership can be defined as establishing direction, gaining committment to that direction, and increasing individual and team capability to that direction. Leadership occurs at all levels in an organization. Leadership Roles can be an awesome and overwhelming responsibility. If thought of in in simple terms, leadership roles can be broken down into a few simpler functions.

The leader as commander.
Think about the captain or commander of a ship. Similarly you have a crucial role as the captain or commander of your business. The ship’s captain steers a course that stays away from dangers such as shallow or turbulent waters and provides a safe and enjoyable journey; you as the leader must steer your business in a direction that avoids being blindsided by changes in the business environment and provides a financial return to the owners and a great place to work for everyone associated with the business. As a commander, your commander responsibilities include understanding the world around you, setting business direction (compelling vision and strategy), fashioning the culture of the business and establishing the rules the business will live by.

The leader as team builder.
Think about sports for a second. Does the team with the most talented players always win? The answer is “NO.” Winning sports teams must have talent AND they must work together as a team. Team success requires that the totality of the team accomplishments far exceed what the individuals could have accomplished alone. Teams whether in sports or in business do not succeed by accident. You, the team leader, must instill in the team a commitment to a common end – vision, goal, outcome – and a team spirit such that they strive to meet both team and individual goals.

The leader as supervisor and coach.
Leaders soon realize that their success depends on the people they lead. In your role as supervisor and coach you must nurture the employee’s self motivation, be clear about performance expectations, provide abundant feedback and continually provide opportunities for the employee to develop.

The leader as motivator and cheerleader.
The leader sets the tone and nurtures morale, commitment, and motivation. The leader is the motivator for the business’s workforce. This role requires that the leader be positive, upbeat, and proactive even in difficult times.

The leader as promoter and spokesperson.
The leader is the face of your business to the outside world. For you this includes your neighbors, members of your community and consumers of your products. This role is becoming increasingly crucial as environmental, social, and political issues become more important.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

John Quincy Adams

Roles of A Leader Video

Video Transcript

  • "I'm going to talk to you now about the roles of leaders. Now, I could do this by looking at what the guru's say about leadership and leaders, and what have you. I'd prefer to do it by mixing that up with popular culture, indeed rock music and these ideas come out of my book Sex, Leadership and Rock and Roll. So I'm just going to take a few examples out there because the rolls of leaders can't be defined by one approach. So, for example, if you take Simon and Garfunkel's classic Bridge Over Troubled Water, my warped translation of this is that the leader is a team coach, and someone who helps people solve problems rather than somebody who simply directs and forces things along. From Aretha Franklin you can learn the idea of respect. If you give respect, then you will get respect back, that's the basic principal, although in some cases it may take several repetitions of that to gain back what you're looking for. The idea of empowerment that leaders aren't necessarily dictorial, that they empower others to do their best comes from Sting's classic, If You Love Someone, Set Them Free. Now, leader's can't set people free to say, do what you want. They do set a general direction and the vision, but the smart leader sets the direction, then lets people go about setting how they're going to achieve that. So the smart leader sets the direction, leaving the journey up to the employee. Finally, the song Stand By Me, for me, talks about the, the difficult area where things go wrong at work. Leadership's easy when people are doing their best and it's all going right, but it's much more important for leaders to be supportive when things go wrong. I'm not suggesting that if things go wrong repetitively that you should continue to be supportive, but everyone who's any good at anything makes mistakes. And a test of a leader is when things go wrong, that in fact they do stand by the person. So I think there's a great deal you can learn from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, rather than consulting all the text books on leadership. Try spinning some records and see what you find."