The Role of the Leader
There are many definitions of leadership. Some focus on the people side. Some focus on the operational side. Some focus on the strategic side. Ram Charan put an interesting spin on it when he described that one capability of a leader is to look from "Multiple altitudes". This implies that the leader can look above the trees and then dig into the forest to get things done. What this implies is the need to balance the focus, without losing sight of the need to get others within the organization to do the same thing. As you look at your role as a leader, this framework might help in thinking through what you do and where you focus;
- What is your role in setting direction? This includes vision, mission, strategy, and making sure it is clear to others in your organization.
- What is your role in leading for results? This is linked to getting things done. This is the operational aspects of the role. This can include making sure others are focused on the right things, monitoring progress toward the strategy, and making adjustments along the way.
- What is your role in leading people? This focuses on alignment and leading change. This focus enables the previous two. Are you coaching and developing the people that help you achieve the mission and strategy?
- What is your role in building organizational capability? This aspect looks at the idea of "sharpening the saw". This means taking action to ensure the organization and its people are constantly getting better at what they do.
- What is your role in building relationships? These can be internal and external relationships. Think about what you are doing to build the "brand" of your organization, department, team. What is your role in building critical relationships inside or outside the organization to enable success.
These five are not mutually exclusive, but consider them the "balanced scorecard" of leadership as you think through where you are investing your leadership energy.