The role of the business leader is both large and complex. There are at least 6 functions that will be undertaken, no matter what industry, sector or type of organisation in which they operate.
1. Providing Overall Direction
Businesses need to be able to visualise where the business will be 3-5 years down the line. In theory, this process of creating the vision might appear simple. However, you need to be mindful not just of competitors but also technological changes, changes in tastes and your current standing in the market place to name a few.
2. Selecting the Right Strategies
Once you have the clarity on where you are headed in terms of your vision, you need to start selecting strategies to get you there. This might be viewed as the how you get from now to the future. It might be through acquisitions, expansion further back or further forward in the cycle, moving into new geographical markets or technological changes.
3. Making Things Happen
There is a careful balance that needs to be struck, especially if you are at board level in a larger organisation. You need to be able to make things happen without taking on all of the execution yourself. This might seem hugely simple to achieve in theory but is incredibly difficult in practice
4. Getting the Right Structure
The structure that you put in place needs to allow you to achieve the vision and execute the strategies. At the same time you need to try and keep it simple and not overly complex. The larger the organisation, the more difficult this becomes.
5. Motivating Others
Having clarity on your vision is essential. One of the key factors that will determines whether it is achieved or falters will be the ability of the leader to encourage and inspire those in the organisation to make it happen. In any organisation there will be a number of cynics who you need to convince.
6. People Development
If the organisation is to continue to prosper, people development must be high on the agenda. The best organisations have processes for identifying the most talented people coming through and making sure that they are developed for major roles in the future. Ensuring that there is a continued stream of talent developed is a key factor in sustainable progress and achievement.
Leadership is a complex and demanding role. Gaining mastery in all of these common leadership functions is essential if you are to be a success.