When performed well or – better yet – exceptionally, the roles and responsibilities of a leader are vital parts of the business engine. Savvy, efficient team leaders help to thrust ventures forward, developing an impressive company culture and even financial success.

Regardless of experience or maybe even certification, someone with plenty of ambition and a positive outlook can make a valuable leader. A look at some of the roles and responsibilities in this integral part of any venture's mechanics can help you put the right people at the helm.

Early Signs of a Leader

The signs of someone who tends to lead rather than follow can be evident before they're out of diapers. A young child who needs few reminders, displays empathy or works well with a group of other toddlers may one day be settling workplace disputes with fairness and inspiring workers to unleash their full potential.

Leadership Roles in High School

Not everyone is born with a natural urge to take charge or encourage peers to play nice. However, opportunities to lead – even subtle ones – can arise early, and they count. Leadership roles in high school, for example, include:

  • Partaking in a student exchange program.
  • Governing a student body.
  • Volunteering in the community.
  • Editing or starting a student newspaper.
  • Heading a sports team or simply cheering on other players.

Whether or not he has actual work experience, these are all ideal experiences to see on a young person's resume if you're looking for potential leaders.

Coaching and the Leadership Role

In the workplace, a team leader is similar to a sports coach. Imagine a soccer team freewheeling without someone qualified to build skills and suggest plays. A leader works among staff, encouraging production, providing feedback and helping her crew develop their skills.

The leader of a restaurant server team, for instance, ensures that staff members operate like a friendly, well-oiled machine in seeing that new guests have seats and menus pronto, meals arrive hot to the tables and dirty tables are cleaned promptly. In this scenario, the lead hand might perform her role while delivering food, topping up coffee cups, operating the payment system and keeping watch for problem situations.

Roles of a Leader

Managers have people work for them. Leaders, on the other hand, have people follow them. So, to steer their team across the entrepreneurial playing field, leaders need to juggle several roles:

  • Trustworthy captain

    a leader who is honest and displays integrity earns trust and respect from the team.
    * Effective communicator

    clear instructions reduce confusion and mistakes. * Wise teacher

    leaders lead by example, which includes being able to train new workers in an empowering and not demeaning way.   * Savvy innovator

    alert leaders spot problems as they crop up, find creative ways to solve them and help their team adapt to changes as necessary. 

Responsibilities of a Leader

The actual duties and responsibilities of leaders vary slightly by the company for which they work and might seem endless:

  • Training new workers.
  • Providing clear, constructive communication.
  • Encouraging the team to work together to benefit the company.
  • Listening to feedback and resolving conflict.
  • Empowering each member to see his own potential and to grow within the company.
  • Complimenting good behavior.
  • Recognizing ineffective methods or practices.
  • Correcting bad habits.
  • Monitoring team members without micromanaging them.
  • Developing timelines to reach goals.
  • Setting examples.
  • Being an inspiration.
  • Making work interesting and even enjoyable.
  • Rewarding jobs well done (think pizza payday).
  • Establishing shared ownership for good results.
  • Taking responsibility for ineffective outcomes.
  • Adapting to company changes and policies.
  • Approaching management with concerns or ideas and to report on metrics.

Essentially, the job description of a team leader typically consists of several vital roles and responsibilities as well as skills, including proficient PC use. All in all, a leader who can pull the team together to complete goals while encouraging an open-communication culture is a valuable asset to any company.