10 Vital Leadership Roles Of A Great Leader

As a leader, you will have different leadership roles.

Some days you focus on the big picture and on casting vision and goals. Others may focus on coaching and mentoring your team.

It’s like a carpenter. Sometimes they are screwing in screws, other times they are nailing. Sometimes they are measuring and other times they are cutting boards.

All the tasks are for the same purpose – to build the house.

It’s the same if you’re a leader. You may do different leadership roles or functions at different times, but it’s all for the same purpose: leading a group of people through influence toward the accomplishment of a mission or goal.

10 Vital Leadership Roles Of A Great Leader.

What roles could you have?

In this article, we discuss 10 leadership roles that a leader may fill.

Table of Contents

  1. Vision caster
  2. Empowerer
  3. Guide
  4. Communicator
  5. Decision maker
  6. Standard setter/pace setter
  7. Coach/Mentor/Trainer
  8. Door opener
  9. Buck stopper
  10. Influencer / Relationship-builder

 

1. Vision caster

Leaders cast vision. They give direction.

People need to know which direction they are heading. If there is no direction, people wander in different directions.

With no vision that unifies, people and departments begin working for their own self-interest. Silos are created. Rivalries happen.

A clear, compelling vision is important, and you as a leader provide that direction.

In fact, John Maxwell says:

“Vision is critical to good leadership. I have yet to meet a great leader who lacks vision.” (Good Leaders Ask Great Questions)

As a leader, you must cast vision for your team. You must show them the mission and goals that you are pursuing.

Even mid-level managers must lead toward the vision. They may not always cast the overarching vision, but they can make the vision their own and even create a vision for their team.

Questions for you:

  • Have you cast a clear and compelling vision for your organization and/or team?
  • Do they know, without a shadow of a doubt, which direction they are taking?
  • Do they know what goals they are pursuing?
  • If the answer is “no”, you need to take some time and cast some vision.

 

2. Empowerer

Leadership Roles - Empower employees.

One of your leadership roles is to empower your team.

Sometimes leaders lack trust and try to do everything themselves. The problem is when you do that, you aren’t leading, you are just doing.

Some leaders try to micromanage everything their team does – and that is ineffective and demoralizes your team.

Good leaders empower their teams. They delegate tasks with clear expectations and let their team make them happen. They give them decision-making power to solve problems and issues without always having to come to them first.

They encourage their team to try new ideas and innovate. They help their teams take ownership of their tasks, job, work, and the goals and vision of the team.

They trust them and empower their team to do their job effectively.

Good leaders empower their teams. Click To Tweet

Questions for you:

  • What kind of leader are you? Do you try to control or do you empower?
  • Do you micromanage or do you set the expectations and empower your team to make it happen?
  • Do you make all decisions run through you or do you empower them to make decisions to solve the problems they are facing?
  • Does your team feel ownership of their work, or are they just doing it because you are telling them to?

 

3. Guide

Leaders are guides for their teams and organization. They cast the vision, empower their team, and guide them toward their goals.

They help their team set shorter-term goals to reach long-term goals. They help their team see how their work helps move the organization toward its goals.

They encourage their team when they are down and take actions that help motivate them along the way.

They create a safe environment for people to speak up, give feedback, and innovate. They guide everyone toward the vision while encouraging new ideas and innovations to get there faster and better.

Questions for you:

  • If you have cast vision, do you guide your team toward that vision, or do you let that vision sit there?
  • Have you helped your team develop their own goals to help reach the main goal?
  • Have you created an environment where people are wanting to get to that goal and are innovating and sharing ideas to do it better?
  • Or do people just come to do their job and go home, fearing to rock the boat or speak out for fear of punishment or retribution?

 

4. Communicator

Leadership Roles - Communicator.

Effective leaders are good communicators, period.

One of the most important leadership roles you have is to communicate and to communicate well.

When you communicate well, it builds trust. People feel in the know and feel more empowered. It helps remove any sense of us vs. them.

Communication is also important for building people up, encouraging them, and acknowledging their work.

It saves you hours of time, money, and frustration when you communicate effectively. When projects and tasks are poorly communicated, they generally don’t turn out the way they should.

Then they must be redone. People get frustrated. Time is wasted and every minute costs more money.

Questions for you:

  • What kind of communicator are you?
  • Are you constantly communicating with your team about what’s going on? Are you keeping them in the know and in the loop?
  • Do you hide things? Do you consider information as power and try to keep what you can from others?
  • Do you communicate appreciation to your team? Or do you only say something when someone makes a mistake or does something wrong?
  • Do you communicate clear expectations? Or do tasks constantly have to be redone because they weren’t done “right”?

 



 

5. Decision maker

Leaders are the ultimate decision-makers – and by ultimate, I mean that, ultimately, the decision is on you. No matter how the decision is made, you are ultimately responsible.

It’s your job to make sure decisions are made. Some decisions you make yourself. Some of you get input from others before deciding.

Other times you let your team decide. Some decisions you put in the hands of your team to make. It just depends on the situation and the decision that needs to be made.

But as a leader, you must make decisions. Waiting or dilly-dallying or holding back because of fear of being wrong or making a mistake just hurts your team and organization.

Others may be hesitant to make tough decisions, but as a leader, that is your job.

Questions for you:

  • What kind of decision-maker are you? Do you take enough time to get the information and then make the decision? Or do you wait too long to try to be “100% certain”?
  • On the flip side, do you not take enough to collect information before deciding?
  • Do you ever involve others, or do you hold it as a power tool? Do you empower your team to make decisions on issues that they face?
  • Do you let fear of being wrong keep you from making timely decisions?
  • Do you know that not deciding is a decision, and sometimes that can be worse than making a “wrong” decision?

 



 

6. Standard setter/pace setter

Leadership Roles - Role models.

Leaders set the standard and the pace. They are role models.

They live out what they expect others to do.

If they expect their team to live by specific values, they do it. If they expect everyone to be on time and focused and prioritized, they do it first.

If they expect their team to be 100% toward their goal, they are 100% toward their goal first.

They also set the pace. They don’t overdo their team, but they set high expectations, live it themselves, and lead their team in those high expectations.

Whatever behaviors they want from their team, they model it themselves first.

Questions for you:

  • Do you live out the standards you ask your team to do? Or do you live by “do what I say, not what I do”?
  • Have you set high expectations and helped lead your team in those expectations?
  • Are you modeling the values you want to see from your team?

 

7. Coach/Mentor/Trainer

Good leaders care about their team and their development.

They know developing their team to their full potential is one of the best ways to help gain their commitment and help them reach their goals even better.

Leaders aren’t about finding and pointing out their team’s mistakes. They help coach them to see their own mistakes and to improve. They mentor them in the areas they need to grow.

They provide training and resources to help them grow in their career and in their job duties.

They also develop and raise new leaders. The more and better leaders they have in the organization, the stronger the organization will be.

And, when they move up and leave that position, there will likely be someone of quality to replace them.

Questions for you:

  • Do you take the time to mentor and coach your employees?
  • Do you just point out what they do wrong, or do you try to help them grow in their mistakes to get better?
  • Are you developing future leaders? Or do you feel threatened by others who might succeed or do well?
  • Do you care about your team and try to help them grow to their fullest potential? Or do you fear training them and then them leaving?

 

8. Door opener

Leadership Roles - Leaders lead people toward a goal

Leaders are door-openers.

Leaders lead people toward a goal. Part of their job is to help them do that.

They help provide the resources they need to do their job and do it well. If there is red tape, they try to get it cut for them.

They make the connections they need. If they need to be working with someone in another department, they make it happen. A big part of their job is to serve their team and open doors so that their team can do their job well.

Questions for you:

  • Do you see your role as your team serving you or you serving your team?
  • Do you take the time to open doors for resources and connections to help your team succeed? Do you help cut bureaucratic tape?
  • Or do you just expect them to do it themselves?

 

9. Buck stopper

One of the most important leadership roles is being a buck-stopper. What is a buck stopper?

Have you heard of the phrase, “The buck stops here?”

One of your jobs as a leader is to take ownership and responsibility for all you do and for all that happens under you. The buck stops with you.

No more passing blame. No more excuses. When it gets to you, you take responsibility and then take action.

This is important, because, not only does it make you look weak when you pass blame, you can’t effectively lead when you do it either.

When you take responsibility, you then can do something to fix it or fix it for the future. If your team messed up, ultimately, as the leader, it’s on you.

You then can look at what went wrong (looking at yourself first – unclear expectations, wrong person, wrong hire, lack of training or resources, etc.) and take steps to keep it from happening again.

Blame makes you look weak. Strong leaders take responsibility and then take action to help make it right.

Questions for you:

  • Do you take ownership? Or do you make excuses and cast blame?
  • When a mistake happens with your team, do you first look at what they did wrong, or do you examine what you could have done better?
  • When mistakes happen, do you run and hide from them, or do you own them and then work to make them right?

 

10. Influencer / Relationship-builder

Leadership Roles - Influencer

One key aspect of a leader is being an influencer, building relationships, and trust.

John Maxwell stated that “leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.”

You can only lead so far by position. You can exert your will with your authority – but you will only get so far without the respect and trust of your team.

You must build trust with your people. You must show you care about them as people and not just as cogs in a machine.

You need to listen to them, their input, and what they have to say.

Building influence is a vital role as a leader. Click To Tweet

Questions for you:

  • Do you move your team by your influence or by exerting your authority?
  • Do you care about your people and show it? Do they feel safe? Or are they just cogs in a machine?
  • Does your team feel they can trust you?

 

Final Thoughts on 10 Vital Leadership Roles of a Great Leader

As a leader, you will have different roles, or functions, that you have to perform.

As you went through the list of leadership roles, did you see what areas you are doing well in? Did you see what areas you may need to work on?

Take some time to examine yourself, make a plan, then take action.

Now to you: What leadership roles do you need to work on most? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.

 


 

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