If you effectively guide your business or work team as a group leader, you can develop a strong image for your business in the community as well as a personal reputation as a good leader. However, you also take on greater tangible and social risks within a group by assuming a leadership position or asserting yourself in a leadership role.

Advantage: Influence

As a group leader, you have a higher potential to influence the direction and activities of a group. While an effective leader invites discussion and encourages others to share ideas, he typically has formal or informal ability to sway decisions. This allows the leader to either assert ideas or options that he favors personally or professionally, or simply to have a stronger sense of control within the group. This can remove some of the frustration team members feel who don't have the same influence.

Advantage: Personal Branding 

By separating yourself by title or through informal persuasion, you develop a distinct personal and professional image independent of -- but closely tied to -- your group. If your team is successful or productive, you generally gain favor within the team as well as from other work groups, company leaders, customers or partners outside the business. Additionally, a strong reputation as an effective group leader is beneficial in attracting talent to a new business venture or in being pursued by other employers.

Disadvantage: Group Isolation

The separation that comes with being a leader can have drawbacks, though. One is the possibility of isolation. You can avoid this somewhat by maintaining group morale and cohesion. However, mistakes or failures of the group may cause group members to blame you and separate themselves as a unit from the leader. Within the bigger company system, your team may take on a traditional "us versus him" mentality where employees see themselves as worker bees fighting against a leader's oppression. Even something as simple as avoiding the leader during breaks and lunches can negatively affect your position and experience as a group leader.

Disadvantage: Accountability

Regardless of how tight-knit your group, the leader ultimately takes on a higher level of accountability for actions and decisions in many cases. This is true whether you ask for a leadership role or assert yourself informally. Both the group and outside work teams or stakeholders will hold the dominant influencer somewhat more responsible for group failures. This can damage your personal and professional reputation and may ultimately have a negative financial impact on the business.