Many of us see leaders only as people who facilitate meetings, speak in front of groups, and manage teams of people. Everyone can be a leader in their own way. There are a lot of different kinds of leadership roles, types, and skills. The key is finding your forte. Being a leader does not mean you have to be on your A-game all of the time. It simply means putting your passion out there, often in an attempt to help others.
Leaders are not just the people who stand at the front of the room or tell others what to do. As a member of any team, you are a leader. Every role within a team is essential and can be considered a leadership role. Having collaborative team dynamics with good communication and clear agreements is essential to ensuring that the focus of the team is producing the desired results. It is not effective to diminish your role or the roles of others.
Here are some leadership role breakdowns and descriptions to help you learn to value all contributions, especially your own. Find your forte, and then step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with a new role that could be a growth area. All of us have elements of each.
- Issue Advocate
The Issue Advocate is the educator. These are the people tabling at events, spreading the good word, and focusing attention on the core vision the group is collaborating on. This may include getting an issue onto the agenda of key stakeholders, selling products or services, or garnering public support through media and other outlets. These educators create a sense of urgency around the issue, and advocate for the solution the group recommends.
The Convener is the organizer. These people bring others together into action teams and inviting the interested parties to come together to discuss the collaborative vision and action steps needed. This role may involve stakeholder analysis, listening and ensuring that member concerns are addressed, scheduling, agendas, and minutes, if necessary. It is important that the Convener is a neutral party in the case of controversial issues, to ensure that meetings are a safe space to voice concerns. This creates legitimacy for the group’s cause.
The Facilitator/Negotiator is the director. These people are responsible for leading the meeting and maintaining the positive energy of the meeting. It is the responsibility of this role to ensure that the group stays focused on their objective while striving toward gaining response, agreement, and forming action steps to move forward. The Facilitator/Negotiator is usually the one to deliver important information to the group surrounding areas of legality, finance, and any complications that may arise for the group. It is important to be transparent while gathering the pros and cons for analysis so that those performing the analysis have all of the information they need. It is also important to remain positive and forward-thinking, and to redirect the energy of the group if distractions arise or emotions are high.
- Implementation Champion
The Implementation Champion is the cheerleader. These are the people that ensure that, regardless of who dropped the ball, it will always keep rolling. These members focus on action steps, maintaining momentum, delegating tasks, giving thanks and rewards, and celebrating progress. It is also important to evaluate the project and strive for continuous improvement. A positive outlook is essential in this role for maintaining unwavering persistence and determination while also encouraging others.
For more information on these leadership types, please look into Jeff Luke’s book, Catalytic Leadership: Strategies for an Interconnected World.