Three Primary Roles of a Leader


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There is a lot of expectations from leaders, specially when we are in an environment that is ambiguous. Matt Church in his “Speakership” programs talks about the role of leaders and he says that there has ever been only three things that leaders have ever done.

Replace fear with confidence:

This assumes that we, as leaders know what our teams are afraid of. Some of the fears are easy to guess (fear of getting sick) and some not so. So, it is important that we learn how to understand what are the different fears that our teams face. Once we know that, we can figure out what we can do to replace that with confidence.

Replace confusion with clarity or certainty:

Sometimes, it comes down to providing clarity or certainty in the face of chaos. Providing clarity or certainty assumes that we, as leaders, have a clear understanding about what is happening and what our response should be. Sometimes, we do but more and more often, we ourselves are not clear or certain about what comes next. So, how can we provide that to our teams?

In chaos or ambiguity, we need to find a common ground, something that we are certain about – this could be the vision you have about how you want to be remembered or your belief systems or anything else. Once we have that, we can anchor our efforts to provide clarity or certainty on that common ground. Once we have that, it is ok, even preferred to openly talk about what is not clear and seek the counsel of our teams about what they see and identify the next steps together.

Mobilise in the pursuit of a better future:

We can only be a leader, when there are people who are willing to follow us on a journey. And what kind of a journey would we be leading people to if it were not in the pursuit of a better future for everyone involved. This of course assumes that we have a vision of what this better future could look like and we know what needs to change in order for us to realise this future.

This is why, as leaders, it is important to develop the skill to not only envision a better future but also to be able to clearly and confidently communicate this vision to our followers. This ability to communicate clearly is what Matt teaches in his “Speakership” course. As he often says,

“Speakership is Leadership”.

– Matt Church

This also assumes that we, as leaders know how to mobilize people. This is no trivial matter and is a difficult skill to master.


I really like the simplicity of this 3 role definition of leadership that Matt shares. This has layers upon layers of assumptions of skills and actions that we need to learn to be and become better leaders, but keeping this in mind is a great start.

Just to conclude, I would like you to think about the following questions and answer them for yourself (would love it if you could share some of them as comments to this post, if it makes sense).

What have you done as a leader in the past week to replace fear with confidence in your teams? What can you do this week to do this?

What have you done as a leader in the past week to replace confusion with clarity for your teams? What can you do this week about this?

Do you have the vision of a better future? Have you shared this with your team last week? How/When can you share this with your team this week?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mukesh Gupta
I currently work for SAP as Customer advocate. In this capacity, I am responsible to ensure that the voice of the customer is being heard and play the bridge between customers and SAP. Prior to joining SAP, I have worked with different organizations serving in different functions like customer service, logistics, production planning & sales, marketing and business development functions. I was also the founder-CEO of a start-up called "Innovative Enterprises". The venture was in the retail & distribution business. I blog at


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