My friend Steve Graves recently met with some of our leadership team and shared four tasks of a senior leader. I found his framework helpful and challenging, and in sharing it with you, I have added some of my own thoughts. So, here are the four tasks that every senior leader must be preoccupied with and focused on.
1. Directional clarity
Leaders are responsible to provide clear direction to their teams. Without directional clarity, people move in a plethora of directions, even competing directions. Without clear direction, both the team and the people they serve suffer. If you are a leader who is not providing clear direction, then you likely have a very frustrated team.
2. Strategic movement
While clarity of direction is essential, there must also be strategic execution in sync with the established direction. A leader must be concerned that the team/organization is moving, is progressing down the path that has been chosen. It is insufficient for a leader to “cast a vision” or “set a direction” and not continue to engage with the team through the season of execution. If you are a leader who is not ensuring movement, then you may have some nice binders with strategic plans in them, but little execution is happening against those plans.
3. Cultural leverage
Every organization or team has a unique culture. A senior leader must be concerned with the health of the culture, but he or she must also care about leveraging the culture for good. A healthy internal culture will bear external fruit, and leaders must steward both the culture and the utilization of the culture. If you are a leader who is not concerned about your team’s culture, then you are underestimating its power.
4. Resource stability
Wise leaders constantly ensure the people on their teams have what they need to fulfill the mission. Resources must accompany responsibilities. If you are a leader who is not providing the necessary resources to your team, or is not helping the team find ways to secure them, then you have a team that is not operating at full capacity.
Why these four tasks? Because these are things that leaders can provide. Team members need someone to remove roadblocks and provide resources. Team members need a clear sense of “here is where are we going.” Team members need leaders to do what leaders can do.