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The expectations of a leader

Most literature focuses on the difference between leadership and management. The reality is, if you are leading a team, you will be doing both and more. Let’s get clear on what those different expectations are of you as a leader.

The expectations of a leader.

Visionary: Inspire the team, set the vision, understand the strategic big picture and communicate this to your team. You are motivating your team for the future.

Manager: Direct your team, assign work, delegate, clarify expectations, give context about what needs to be delivered and followed up, and hold your team accountable.

Mentor: Impart your knowledge and wisdom and share stories of how you have approached situations in the past so that your team members can take what is relevant to them and apply it.

Coach: Ask powerful questions so the person you’re coaching can come up with their own solution—one that is meaningful and useful for them.

Teacher: Train your team, impart and transfer knowledge and skills. This could mean showing them a new process or inducting them in the team so they can learn a new skill to be effective in their role.

Advisor: Share your specialist knowledge, give advice, problem solve together and offer solutions. The final two components are often not in the job description but can take up considerable time.

Counsellor: Be a sounding board because people are human. We all go through difficult times in and outside of work and mental health issues are more prevalent than ever. This is the role of the listener. Use appropriate support like Employee Assistance Programs where applicable, as you are not a psychologist.

Mediator: Assist when two team members are having a disagreement and can’t resolve it on their own.

As you can see, there is a huge expectation of you as a leader. Some days you may play all these roles, others just a few. The critical skill of a leader is reading the situation and determining what it is time for.


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