The boss of any company is never just the boss. As a business leader, you wear more hats, juggle more tasks, and play more roles than anyone on the totem pole. Or, at least—you should. Business leaders are at the top because they’re capable of being a professional chameleon. They step up and play any and every role needed to get business done.
Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s not really your strong suit. Regardless, every business leader needs to be prepared to take on certain duties and be certain things to their business and employees when called upon. These are 5 roles that every leader needs to be able to play.
5 Roles Business Leaders Have to Take On
1) The Architect
Architects design structures to be sound, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing. As a business leader wearing the “architect” hat, your job is to design a business that acts like a well-designed structure. That means that from the ground up, you have set a framework in place that keeps things running smoothly. Employees always know what you expect of them, they know how the systems at play work, and they feel secure in knowing that they have clear direction and strong leadership guiding them.
The architect has planned the steps out; you know how everything is to work, and you know where things are headed.
2) The Visionary
Part of knowing where things are headed is having a vision. As a leader, you are to be the visionary for your business. Being a visionary moves beyond thinking about your own personal gain and towards being a voice of inspiration. You are to help those around you see the potential for the future, and see their part in it.
The visionary doesn’t just show an idealized image of what’s to come—they invite their employees and followers to take part and contribute to that vision, too. Visionaries welcome other voices, input, and energy towards progress. You just guide and drive the feeling that there is something more waiting ahead. The visionary is building an image—one that other people want to see and be a part of.
3) The Team Captain
You’re already the leader of a business—what’s so different about being team captain? Here’s the difference: being team captain puts you on an even playing field. The team captain is still the captain, but he’s there to guide, encourage, and champion the other players on the field—but he’s still among peers.
Acting as a team captain, leaders appreciate the efforts put forth by those around them. They reward good work, encourage growth, and empower the team to work and excel independently of the captain.
4) The Mechanic
Mechanics are well acquainted with machines. They know them backwards and forwards and they know how to fix them when something goes wrong. A leader (as mechanic) is completely in touch with the structure of his business. He’s not ignorant to what’s happening in the inner workings of the company—no, he’s involved and hands on. The mechanic is infinitely knowledgeable in his field and knows better than anyone how to handle a bad situation. And, better than anyone, he can get things running like new again.
5) The Communicator
Lastly, every leader should be skilled at communication. It’s not just about talking to people, but about effective communication. That can span across a wide range of situations and scenarios: defusing tensions, mediating disagreements, striking a deal, working a room during a pitch, rallying the morale of your team, or working with someone one-on-one to address an issue or concern. Communication is about listening, empathizing, and recognizing what is needed in the moment. It’s being open, honest, and fair—and then encouraging that same kind of communication from top to bottom.
How you choose to communicate with others, as a leader, is paramount to the success or failure of your business. It just may be the most important hat you wear.
What other “hats” do you find yourself wearing in your leadership roles? Share your experience with me in the comments.