This week it dawned on me, as I was offering a Leadership Development Training workshop in Cape Town, why a company’s management team is so often confused about the various leadership functions in an organisation. As a seasoned workshop trainer I have often found the lack of clarity in leadership positions can create confusion and sometime resentment leading to poor productivity.

This is my understanding of these different roles.



These people fall into the “informal camp.” They are not in formal management positions, but are given added leadership responsibilities on top of their normal daily work – often when the supervisor is away.

I believe that the best way to select team leaders is by introducing a 2-3 month rotation of all members in the team to experience the role – this way Supervisor can have a better view of who is best suited for the succession planning.

Too often supervisors appoint the ‘Star’ profile within the team to a team leadership role, when in fact the quieter person in that team might be best suited for the position.


This is a management role that falls into the “formal camp” of a management hierarchy. In some cases supervisors have not yet embraced the idea that they are now part of the management team. They still want their work colleagues to like and accept them, especially if they’ve been chosen from the ranks, and can feel alienated when this doesn’t happen.

To all you supervisors out there, I suggest you embrace your new role as part of the management team (the “formal camp”) and act accordingly. It might happen that you’ll be called to discipline or dismiss a colleague and unless you have fully accepted that this is one of your roles, it might make your life that much more difficult.


Once you’re appointed as a manager you are now responsible for your supervisory team. As part of the management team you need to be clear about where you stand in the hierarchy and take on this important leadership role. Be clear on your function in your organisation and act accordingly.

This brings me to my final point.

What makes a great leader?  Here are some points:

  1. You lead from behind and encourage members of staff to perform at their best;
  2. Your team respects you because you are willing to demonstrate that you are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure a job is well done;
  3. When someone makes a mistake, you are willing to help them improve and learn;
  4. You are proactive and don’t wait for someone else to complete a task;
  5. You set an example by being willing to do what most other people won’t.
  6. You compliment in public and reprimand in private.

I invite you to tap into my Leadership Training Workshops and deepen your experience as a leader. It will make a huge difference to your company and to your team.

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