The 4 Fundamental Duties Of A Leader

The 4 Fundamental Duties Of A Leader

The Four Fundamental Duties of A Leader

By Mark Wager

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When you are in a managerial role, you typically have to perform the duties of both a Manager and that of a Leader. They are very different yet specific duties and you need to be able to complete both if you want to be successful. Management is about the control and responsibility of resources and people in order to achieve your goals yet Leadership is the ability to influence people in order to achieve. They may sound similar but management and leadership is quite different. One is about control and responsibility while the other is about influence. 

On a daily basis, the management role is easily defined, distributing workload, reporting on progress making sure that all systems are working etc. However, when we talk about Leadership duties they are not always so clear and as a result can  easily be overlooked and eventually you end up with people who are so busy managing the team that they are failing to lead the team. In this week’s article I want it clarify the fundamental duties that every Leader needs to perform.

Attract the best people. 

The first duty of a leader is to attract the best people to join their team. If you get the right people then a lot of issues that managers have to deal with tend to take care of themselves. You will spend a lot less time on performance issues if you have quality people to start with. Just like how cooking is far easier when you have the right ingredients, the better the quality of people you have the better the team will be. 

Don’t fall into the trap of recruiting quickly. Take your time and make sure you are proactive in seeking out the people with the necessary qualities for your team. Recruitment is not the area that you should compromise on. Any time you save on a quick hire will be nothing compared to the time you will lose when they fail to meet the required expectations.

Clarify goals and expectations. 

This is the most important duty of a Leader. The  need to clarify goals and expectations with everyone within the team is crucial and everyone needs to be fully aware of what is required from them. I train a lot of Leaders and I can say without any hesitation that the majority of challenges a Leader has to deal with come directly from the lack of clarification. For example, a typical scenario may arise when a team member thinks they are doing a good job only to discover that they are not reaching the required standards.

Never assume that it’s obvious what good work looks like because very rarely it is. Assumptions are the enemy of greatness, so if you are unsure about your team’s understanding then just ask them, don’t ask a yes/no question like “do you understand?” This never works because it’s only after mistakes occur that people realised they didn’t understand instead ask them to describe what a great job looks like, and if there answer is not what you want then you can provide clarification. 

Empower the team 

A good team do what they are told yet a great team doesn’t need to be told. Management is about delegating tasks while Leadership is about assigning responsibility and if you do the latter, then you don’t need to delegate because people will already know what they are responsible for and do the work without being told. When people are in control of their work they are more likely to feel empowered and the quality of their work will be of a much higher standard. 

The vast majority of people want to come to work to do a good job while the rest want to come to work in order to do just enough to stay out of trouble. As of yet I have never met anyone who wants to do a bad job. People tend to do a bad job either because they don’t know what was expected or they haven’t been given the tools to succeed. A Leader is like a conductor of an orchestra. They don’t play an instrument themselves but they empower people to play their individual role and together the team makes beautiful music.

Remove obstacles standing between the team and success. 

The final duty of a Leader is to remove any obstacles standing between a team member and their goals. This may take the form of training people providing them with the necessary skills or making sure they have the resources in order to do their job. On a regular basis a Leader needs to be asking their team what barriers they are facing and while not every barrier is going to be overcome the Leader will find that they are able to add value in a way that other team members are not. 

When workload increases it’s easy to get focused on the management side of the role yet it’s the Leadership side that makes the difference because when a Manager stops leading then the team loses direction and without direction the team turns into a group of individuals who happen to be doing the same job. Leaders bring people together, clarify is what is required. Empower  people to achieve those goals and remove any obstacles that may arise. Focus on those four fundamental duties and you will become a quality Leader.

Posted: Thursday 9 June 2022

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