Functions of Leadership

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Ever wondered what makes a leader truly effective?

Is it about their leadership styles?

The answer lies in understanding the important functions of ao leader – the essential toolkit that successful leaders use to guide their teams toward shared goals.

Organizational objectives and organizational goals serve as the compass for leaders, providing direction and purpose to their actions and decisions.

Did you know that organisations led by individuals who excel in these functions are 2.3 times more likely to achieve their objectives?

A staggering statistic underscores the essential role of leadership function in organisational objectives.

So, let’s peel off the layers of leadership functions, breaking down complex concepts into simple, actionable insights that anyone can grasp.

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Imagine you’re planning a road trip.

What do you need?

A map, a destination, and a plan to get there.

Similarly, in the world of leadership, planning is the roadmap to success.

Functions of Leadership Via Planning

Leaders engage in strategic planning, that is the primary function, outlining the group goals and steps needed to achieve the organisation’s vision.

Encourage teamwork within the organizational setting, fostering collaboration and synergy among team members to effectively execute the strategic plan.

This isn’t just about setting directions; it’s about charting a course for the entire organisation. Statistics tell us that organisations with well-thought-out plans are 1.8 times more likely to reach their goals. 

Planning ensures everyone is on the same page, working cohesively towards a common objective. The leader directs, preventing teams from wandering aimlessly.

Moreover, a structured plan helps organisations adapt to changing environment effectively, acting as a flexible guide rather than a rigid rulebook for organisational activities.

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One powerful technique for effective planning is conducting a SWOT analysis—evaluating Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

This method allows leaders to identify internal strengths and weaknesses while assessing external opportunities and threats.

A successful leader can craft a more informed and resilient plan by understanding these factors. 

For instance, Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, was renowned for his meticulous planning and visionary approach.

The launch of groundbreaking products like the iPhone resulted from innovation and careful planning, setting a standard for the tech industry. 

Leaders can leverage mind mapping tools such as MindMeister or XMind to enhance planning efforts. These tools visually represent ideas, goals, and action steps, fostering a more comprehensive and organised planning process.

Effective planning also relies on a leader’s formal authority and reward power within the organisation, enabling them to implement plans and motivate team members towards achieving goals.

Moving on from planning, let’s shift our focus to organising.

Organising in leadership is about structuring tasks, roles, and resources within the team to ensure a smooth workflow.


Think of a well-orchestrated symphony. Each instrument has a specific role, contributing to the overall harmony.

In leadership, organising is the art of creating a harmonious structure.

Functions Of Leadership Via Organizing

Leaders organise and structure tasks, roles, and resources within the work group to ensure a smooth and effective workflow. It’s about creating a framework where each team member knows their part. Studies reveal that organisations with a well-defined structure are 1.9 times more likely to achieve mutual objectives.

Additionally, leaders perform a creative function in designing and adapting the organizational structure to suit the evolving needs and challenges of the team and the organization.

Organising fosters efficiency, reducing confusion and redundancy. It’s like having a musical score – everyone knows when to play their part, resulting in a masterpiece. 

A widely adopted organising framework in leadership is the Agile methodology. Originally developed for software development, Agile principles have proven effective in various industries.

It involves breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable units, known as sprints, fostering adaptability and collaboration. A business leader can use Agile to organise team efforts, and encourage team work, enhancing efficiency and responsiveness.

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Look at companies like Amazon. Their leaders have perfected the art of organising operations, from warehouses to delivery systems, ensuring a seamless customer experience worldwide. Moreover, organising enhances collaboration.

When everyone understands their role and how it contributes to the bigger picture, teamwork is encouraged. This boosts productivity and creates a positive and collaborative work environment.

Leaders can leverage project management tools like Asana or Trello to enhance organisational goals.

These tools facilitate task assignment, progress tracking, and collaboration, promoting a more organised and streamlined workflow.

Now that we’ve explored the structured framework of organising let’s move to the guiding force of directing.


Imagine a play without a director – actors unsure of their lines, scenes lacking direction and self-confidence.

In leadership, directing is the guiding force that brings out the best in every team member.

Functions of Leadership Via Directing

Leaders provide guidance and instructions, ensuring team members understand their roles and responsibilities.

It’s about creating a cohesive performance where every individual member contributes to the success of the production. Research indicates that teams led by directors—leaders who effectively guide—see a 1.7 times increase in performance.

Directing is more than just giving orders; it inspires individual members to give their best. 

A powerful directing approach is Transformational Leadership, where leaders inspire and motivate people by fostering a shared vision and individual growth to achieve common objectives.

This style, popularised by leadership theorist James V. Downton, emphasises collaboration, creativity, and continuous improvement. 

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Consider the impact of leaders like Elon Musk. His directing style at Tesla involves clear communication leadership, driving the organisational structure to innovate and achieve unprecedented success. Moreover, effective directing makes an environment conducive for creativity.

When leaders guide rather than dictate, team members feel empowered to bring new ideas to the table, leading to innovation and growth.

Incorporating “system imposed time” and “boss imposed time” into the workflow allows leaders to strive willingly for efficiency within defined time constraints.

Additionally, fostering an environment where team members develop voluntary cooperation further enhances organisational effectiveness and team synergy.

Let’s navigate to the compass of controlling in leadership by shifting from directing. 


Imagine piloting a ship through rough waters without navigation tools.

In leadership, controlling is the compass that keeps the organisation on course, steering towards its goals.

Functions Of Leadership Via Controlling

Business Leaders monitor and evaluate performance, implementing corrective actions to keep the organisation on track. It’s about staying vigilant, adjusting, and ensuring everyone moves in the right direction.

Studies indicate that organisations with effective control mechanisms are 1.6 times more likely to adapt to changes successfully. Controlling is not restricting; it’s fine-tuning the course to overcome obstacles and navigate challenges. 

Look at the turnaround of IBM under the leadership of Ginni Rometty. Her strategic control measures led the company through a transformative period, emphasising the importance of adaptability.

In today’s dynamic business environment, the ability to adapt is a key factor for sustained success.

A good leader can leverage performance management software such as BSC Designer or ClearPoint to enhance controlling efforts.

These tools streamline the tracking of KPIs, facilitate data analysis, and provide actionable insights for informed decision-making.

Moving on from controlling, let’s shift our focus to coordinating.

Let’s dive into how good leaders coordinate efforts to exceed an organisation’s goals.


Think of a dance performance where each dancer moves in perfect harmony.

In leadership, coordinating orchestrates this seamless collaboration, ensuring every team member dances to the same rhythm.

Functions Of Leadership Via Coordinating

It is the leader’s responsibility to coordinate the efforts of team members, fostering collaboration and synergy to achieve collective success. It’s about creating a cohesive unit where each member complements the strengths of others.

Research shows that organisations with effective coordination are 1.5 times more likely to exceed their goals. Coordinating is not just about getting tasks done; it’s about creating an environment where collective achievement is greater than the sum of individual efforts. 

A powerful coordinating methodology is Lean Six Sigma, a combination of Lean manufacturing principles and Six Sigma methodologies. Good leaders can apply Lean Six Sigma to streamline processes, eliminate inefficiencies, and enhance overall team coordination.

This approach ensures that each team member’s efforts contribute efficiently to the overarching goals.

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Consider the success of Pixar Animation Studios. The coordinated efforts of creative teams under visionary leadership result in blockbuster animated films, showcasing the legitimate power of effective coordination.

When individuals work together seamlessly, combining their unique skills and perspectives, they create outcomes that surpass individual capabilities.

Leaders can leverage collaboration platforms such as Slack or Microsoft Teams to enhance coordinating efforts.

These tools facilitate real-time communication, file sharing, and project tracking, fostering a more coordinated and collaborative work environment.

Transitioning from coordinating, let’s explore the spark of motivating in leadership. 


Imagine a sports team entering the field with low morale – chances of success diminish.

In leadership, motivating is the spark that propels individuals and teams towards peak performance.

Functions Of Leadership Via Motivating

A good leader serves to inspire and motivate individuals within the group, encouraging them to give their best effort and contribute positively to the organisation.

It’s about creating an environment where enthusiasm and dedication thrive. Statistics reveal that organisations with motivated teams experience a 1.9 times increase in overall performance.

Motivating is not just about cheering; it’s about recognising achievements, fostering a positive response, and instilling a sense of purpose. 

Consider the impact of leaders like Oprah Winfrey. Her motivational leadership style empowers individuals to believe in their potential, leading to personal quality and collective success. Moreover, motivation contributes to a positive organisational culture.

When individuals feel valued and motivated, they become more engaged, leading to higher job satisfaction and increased productivity.

To enhance motivating efforts, leaders can implement employee recognition programs.

These programs can include awards, incentives, or public acknowledgements, providing tangible expressions of appreciation that contribute to a positive work culture.

Shifting gears from motivating, let’s dive into the essential role of communication and leadership.


Imagine a game of telephone where messages get distorted along the way.

In leadership, effective communication is the antidote to misunderstandings, ensuring the team spirit is on the same page.

Functions Of Leadership Via Communication

A leader works in playing a pivotal role in the effective communication system. They convey messages, expectations, and the overall vision to group members and stakeholders. It’s about creating a clear and open channel for information flow. Studies indicate that organisations with an effective communication system are 2.2 times more likely to achieve their desired goals.

Proper communication helps in not just talking; it’s about ensuring everyone understands the message, reducing the likelihood of errors and misinterpretations.

An essential communication technique is active listening.

Active listening involves giving full attention, using non-verbal cues to show engagement, and providing feedback through paraphrasing. Leadership requires not judging, responding appropriately, and empathising with the speaker’s perspective. 

Look at leaders like Warren Buffett. His clear and transparent communication style with shareholders and employees has been a key factor in the success of Berkshire Hathaway.

Moreover, effective communication system strengthens human relations. When leaders communicate openly, it builds trust and fosters a positive working environment, leading to stronger bonds within the team.

Lastly, transitioning from communication, let’s turn our attention to developing. 


Think of a garden where careful cultivation leads to flourishing plants.

In leadership, developing is the art of nurturing potential and ensuring that an individual grows into an effective leader.

Functions Of Leadership Via Developing

A leader acts on focusing on developing individuals within the organisation, nurturing talent and fostering a learning culture. It’s about investing in the future by cultivating leadership qualities. Research shows that organisations focusing on leadership development are 1.7 times more likely to outperform their competitors. 

Developing is not just about today; it’s about building a reservoir of leadership potential for the challenges of tomorrow. Consider companies like Google. Their commitment to developing leaders internally has been a key factor in their ability to innovate and stay at the forefront of the tech industry. Moreover, developing contributes to a learning culture. 

When leaders prioritise growth and development, it creates an environment where continuous learning is not just encouraged but ingrained in the organisational setting.

Conclusion: Leadership Functions of a Successful Leader

Remember, leadership is not a one-time thing but a continuous journey. By using and living out these jobs, leaders navigate through the challenges of their organisations, creating a space for ongoing growth, new ideas, and victories.

Leadership is about moving towards success through clear actions, simple communication, and dedication to improving things.

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