7 Foundational Roles of a Leader (Pt. 2)

Leadership roles

In the first part we discussed the roles of leading, managing, and concentrating on the vision. Alongside these roles are 4 others you will need to adapt and master if you want to be an effective and successful leader. Let’s look into the remaining foundational roles of a leader:

4. Training your people

One of the most valuable roles of a leader is to train or at the very least have programs in place where people are receiving on-going training. Whether you are hands on when it comes to training your people or primarily focus on setting up training opportunities does not matter as much as if training is required and done. Your role is to foster your people’s growth and development.

The most successful organizations have highly skilled people and leaders on every level, from the lowest to highest roles. When being skilled and having on-going training is a normal expectation you will retain highly skilled and talented people to work for you. The fact is those who won’t or don’t grow or develop will soon leave while those who are strong and competent will remain in your organization.

Author Ram Charan said, “Many fail to recognize that developing other leaders is, or at least should be, a major part of every leader’s job.” This statement comes from a highly acclaimed business advisor with over 36 years of experience. Your role is to make sure you are increasing the skills of your people and to be training up leaders.

5. Building a strong team

Your role as a leader is to find and unite a team together for the purpose of achieving extraordinary results. Business expert Jim Collins says, “You must get the right people on the bus and in the right seats” and “the wrong people off the bus.” This task can initially require a lot of upfront time and energy but once done and maintained it can lead to the organization achieving higher results and moving toward the organization’s goals and vision. It also has the added benefit of increasing your people’s job satisfaction and enjoyment.

To build strong teams and maximize Jim’s advice concentrate on making sure each person is strength-based. This means each person in your organization has the opportunity to be working in or doing tasks they are strongest or the best at. There is a process to making sure your people are strength-based. The first step is to make sure everyone has found their areas of personal strengths, The Gallup Strength Finder survey can be of valuable tool for doing this. The second step is for the person’s supervisors to take the time to know and learn about each person’s strengths and to assess their work responsibilities and tasks. The final step is to make sure each person is in a role where they can be using their strengths. Strength-based people and teams will always be strong.

6. Cultivating the environment

Leaders must cultivate and maintain a positive, productive, and enjoyable work environment. In Becoming a Person of Influence Author John Maxwell said, “People desire security not only from you but also from their environment. Good leaders recognize this and create an environment where people can flourish.” This creates a positive environment and opens the door for people to be creative, committed, trusting, and action oriented.

Cultivating the right environment primarily happens through your example. Leaders have the power to either positively or negatively influence the work environment by your example and leadership. Your role as a leader is to possess a positive and good attitude, actions, and behavior on a consistent basis. To make sure you are praising, encouraging, challenging, teaching, getting to know, and rewarding your people on a daily basis. This does not mean you never correct, discipline or hold your people accountable but if you first cultivate the type of environment described above it will make those situations easier to deal with.

7. Delivering results

You get paid to deliver results on a consistent basis. If you fail to deliver results you will fail in your leadership role. The results of leadership include your own and those you lead. You need to deliver the results you were hired to achieve and also influence the people underneath your leadership to be successful within their roles. You have a better chance of delivering results if you apply and maintain the other roles from above: Leading, managing, concentrating on the vision, training your people, building a strong team, and cultivating the environment.

Questions: Can you add to the list? Which of these roles do you need to adapt even more into your leadership?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • DS

    I think developing others is a great one Dan. I think baseball is a great example of this. Who is bringing in talent from their ‘farm’ team? Often the teams with an excellent team on the field is one who has brought up their own talent. They selected well in the draft, they helped cultivate their skills at different levels of difficulty, and ultimately place them on the largest stage.

    • I totally agree with you! I’ve found the best leaders have been promoted from the bottom up into roles of leadership. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • A leader is only as strong as his team, Dan – and it’s the leaders job to make sure he’s creating the right team. Hiring people or bringing them on the bus is an important – almost sacred job – your success is based on the people in the bus with you. Great thoughts here.

    • Love your thoughts, Vishnu! Your right on. It’s why we need to hire slowly and fire quickly.

  • Great post Dan! #7 really hit home. They need to know what results the leader is expecting…to many leaders are unclear with that and then are confused that the team is not delivering. Keep it up;)

    • Thank you, Zech :) It’s one of the most important roles of leadership. Knowing what you and your followers are expected to do and achieve. It can make or break a leader. Thank you for sharing.