The 7 Responsibilities of Leadership

December 10, 2020

by Adam Kreek

As a leader, you must be many things to many different people. The further up the organization you move, the more you will need to refine your ability to balance effectively between different roles.

If you do not manage this dance effectively, you will face the common consequences of ineffectiveness, frustration, lagging motivation and even burnout.

Imagine you have 100 leadership points. What is your current mix of the seven ideas below?

What is your ideal mix? Which one of these roles is taking up too much time? Which one needs more attention?

Leading as a Manager

A manager gets a task done quicker, better, faster. Your job is to:

  1. Set the agenda
  2. Provide context
  3. Make success measurable
  4. Monitor progress
  5. Hold them accountable

Ironically, to get things done faster and better, you will need to slow down and be:

  • Methodical
  • Organized
  • Predictable
  • Reliable

Leading as an Expert

An expert knows what they need to do – even in a field cluttered with choices, information and unclear destinations. Your work is to:

  1. Provide detailed information
  2. Troubleshoot problems
  3. Train others

Your expertise got you here, but may not take the company to the next level. Experts often lack the following interpersonal skills:

  • Listening
  • Communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Coaching

Leading as a Coach

Each of your team members is different. As a coach, your job is to ask more questions and empower individuals to solve problems on their own.  Your work is to:

  1. Know your team members
  2. Develop each individual
  3. Deliver supportive, timely feedback
  4. Provide career guidance for long-term success

Being a coach takes more time and effort than solving the problem yourself but has immense payback downstream.

  • Independent thinkers
  • More fulfilling relationships
  • Higher functioning organization

Leading as a Change Agent

Change happens. As a leader, you also make change happen. As a change agent, your work is to:

  1. Know your personal style in the face of change
  2. Understand your team’s change style preferences
  3. Explain what, when, how and why, multiple times
  4. Think from the perspective of different people
  5. Build higher engagement and commitment
  6. Generate enthusiasm

Change is difficult for most people, and great leadership helps them feel safe and be productive.

  • Understand change takes time
  • Model resiliency
  • Be a positive realist
  • Capitalize on moments of authentic enthusiasm

Leading as a Motivator

Being a great motivator is all about style, and has little to do with your subject matter experience. Can you raise people’s spirits and move them into action? Your work is to:

  1. Generate positive energy
  2. Create an environment that inspires
  3. Set clear goals, then bring them to life
  4. Communicate in different ways to different people
  5. Keep pushing forward in the face of challenge

Motivation comes in waves. Some days you have it, some days you won’t. Your job as a leader is to build a culture that self-perpetuates good energy.

  • Recognize efforts regularly
  • Reward results
  • Acknowledge painful realities, and articulate the hidden opportunities

Leading as an Ambassador

You are the face of your organization, and when you interact with other people in the business world, you are a living representation of the mission, vision and values of your team. Your work is to:

  1. Build your external network
  2. Articulate your organization’s brand
  3. Attract top talent
  4. Sell your products
  5. Be a rainmaker

Great ambassadors live, breathe and know their company. They have a high awareness of their organization’s:

  • Purpose
  • Ideal customers
  • Benefits to the marketplace
  • Solutions to industry problems

Leading as a Visionary

Without seeing the future, you will not create it. Foundational to any strong leader is a well-developed vision. Your work is to:

  1. Be curious and creative
  2. Think long term and big picture
  3. Translate your vision into clear goals and actionable tasks
  4. Communicate effectively
  5. Continue to evolve

Without vision, a leader is nothing. To keep your vision sharp consider:

  • New technologies
  • Status quos that need challenging
  • Customer needs, preferences and desires
  • Product challenges

Adam Kreek is on a mission to positively impact organizational cultures and leaders who make things happen. Kreek is an Executive Business Coach who lives in the Pacific Northwest. He is an Olympic Gold Medalist, a storied adventurer and a father. He authored the bestselling business book, The Responsibility Ethic: 12 Strategies Exceptional People Use to Do the Work and Make Success Happen (Soundview Summary here). Get in touch with Adam at