10 Functional Leadership Characteristics

according to the functional leadership model, the primary task of the leader is to ensure that all requirements of the group are met so that goals can be achieved.

The functional style places more importance on behaviors that get things done rather than assigning a formal leadership role.

The following are the characteristics of a functional leadership style.

  1. Priority on needs

The basic notion of functional leadership is that any group will have three primary needs

  • The needs of the task
  • The needs of the team
  • The needs of individuals who make up the team

These three needs are the basic building blocks that form functional leadership. When these needs are met, goals are achieved and the organization progresses.

  1. Focus on actions

The functional leadership theory has been developed after studying the behaviors of successful leaders, and identifying the particular actions that led to successful results. Here, the focus is more on what the leader does than on who the leader is.

  1. Result oriented

In functional leadership, what matters is whether things get done. The leadership role is fluid and the primary emphasis is on ensuring behaviors that achieve a particular result. It isn’t much use getting applauded on a great leadership style if nobody does anything.

  1. Flexible leadership role

The functional leadership approach maintains that it is not necessary for a group to have only one particular member who performs all the leadership functions. The idea is that any group member can perform these actions, which means that anyone can be the leader. It doesn’t matter who does what, what matters is whether the task gets done. Therefore, the leadership role itself is quite flexible.

  1. Clear understanding of individual responsibilities

Under the functional leadership style where the actions of each individual matter, it is of vital importance that each member knows exactly how he or she contributes to the group to achieve its goals. Everyone has to know what they’re supposed to do, and the leader is responsible to ensure clear understanding of each individual’s desired behaviors.

  1. Organizing

In order for the group to effectively perform their task, the functional leader must ensure that the group is properly organized. Not only should each member have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, but the group itself should be properly structured to facilitate their actions.

  1. Motivation

The functional leader must ensure that every individual in the group feels sufficiently appreciated for their efforts and actions. In the absence of motivation or clear communication about how their actions contribute to the group’s success, there’s a high chance that members might get dejected and leave the group.

  1. Controlling

Functional leadership involves a great deal of controlling exactly what happens in the team. Resources are usually limited in any situation, and the leader must control what happens by being efficient about getting the maximum results from the available resources.

  1. Setting an example

People tend to observe their leaders and emulate their behaviors. Functional leaders set an example by doing the things that they want their followers to do.

  1. Guidance

Team members want to know how they are doing, and whether they need to change anything. They need feedback about their jobs and how they can improve. One of the important tasks of a functional leader is to provide appropriate guidance to all members.

The functional style assumes that leadership is defined by the behavior of the leader and its corresponding effect on the group. Leadership is something that any individual provides to a group to meet certain needs.

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The services Y Scouts performs are so inherently humane in nature, and that’s how they approached it from the beginning. Rather than viewing the roles we asked them to help us fill as holes in our organization chart, they realized we were really looking to add leaders with very specific talents and a passion to join our specific culture and ecosystem. Their approach to finding candidates that share our core virtues first is very similar to our proven and trusted process for finding committed faculty in our academies. Our leader they placed has already been delivering impact in ways we hadn’t expected. He’s been the absolute example of how adding the right person can be worth a multiple on the investment.

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Here are some key qualities that every good leader should possess, and learn to emphasize.

  • Honesty. …
  • Delegate. …
  • Communication. …
  • Confidence. …
  • Commitment. …
  • WATCH: 30 Under 30: Best Advice. …
  • Positive Attitude. …


  • Honesty
  • Whatever ethical plane you hold yourself to, when you are responsible for a team of people, its important to raise the bar even higher. Your business and its employees are a reflection of yourself, and if you make honest and ethical behavior a key value, your team will follow suit.
  • Delegate
  • Finessing your brand vision is essential to creating an organized and efficient business, but if you don’t learn to trust your team with that vision, you might never progress to the next stage. Its important to remember that trusting your team with your idea is a sign of strength, not weakness. Delegating tasks to the appropriate departments is one of the most important skills you can develop as your business grows. The emails and tasks will begin to pile up, and the more you stretch yourself thin, the lower the quality of your work will become, and the less you will produce.
  • Communication
  • Knowing what you want accomplished may seem clear in your head, but if you try to explain it to someone else and are met with a blank expression, you know there is a problem. If this has been your experience, then you may want to focus on honing your communication skills. Being able to clearly and succinctly describe what you want done is extremely important. If you can’t relate your vision to your team, you won’t all be working towards the same goal.
  • Confidence
  • There may be days where the future of your brand is worrisome and things aren’t going according to plan. This is true with any business, large or small, and the most important thing is not to panic. Part of your job as a leader is to put out fires and maintain the team morale. Keep up your confidence level, and assure everyone that setbacks are natural and the important thing is to focus on the larger goal. As the leader, by staying calm and confident, you will help keep the team feeling the same. Remember, your team will take cues from you, so if you exude a level of calm damage control, your team will pick up on that feeling. The key objective is to keep everyone working and moving ahead.
  • Commitment
  • If you expect your team to work hard and produce quality content, you’re going to need to lead by example. There is no greater motivation than seeing the boss down in the trenches working alongside everyone else, showing that hard work is being done on every level. By proving your commitment to the brand and your role, you will not only earn the respect of your team, but will also instill that same hardworking energy among your staff. It’s important to show your commitment not only to the work at hand, but also to your promises. If you pledged to host a holiday party, or uphold summer Fridays, keep your word. You want to create a reputation for not just working hard, but also be known as a fair leader. Once you have gained the respect of your team, they are more likely to deliver the peak amount of quality work possible.
  • Positive Attitude
  • You want to keep your team motivated towards the continued success of the company, and keep the energy levels up. Whether that means providing snacks, coffee, relationship advice, or even just an occasional beer in the office, remember that everyone on your team is a person. Keep the office mood a fine balance between productivity and playfulness.
  • Creativity

Some decisions will not always be so clear-cut. You may be forced at times to deviate from your set course and make an on the fly decision. This is where your creativity will prove to be vital. It is during these critical situations that your team will look to you for guidance and you may be forced to make a quick decision. As a leader, its important to learn to think outside the box and to choose which of two bad choices is the best option. Don’t immediately choose the first or easiest possibility; sometimes its best to give these issues some thought, and even turn to your team for guidance. Intuition


When leading a team through uncharted waters, there is no roadmap on what to do. Everything is uncertain, and the higher the risk, the higher the pressure. That is where your natural intuition has to kick in. Guiding your team through the process of your day-to-day tasks can be honed down to a science. But when something unexpected occurs, or you are thrown into a new scenario, your team will look to you for guidance.


Creating a business often involves a bit of forecasting. Especially in the beginning stages of a startup, inspiring your team to see the vision of the successes to come is vital. Make your team feel invested in the accomplishments of the company. Whether everyone owns a piece of equity, or you operate on a bonus system, generating enthusiasm for the hard work you are all putting in is so important. Being able to inspire your team is great for focusing on the future goals, but it is also important for the current issues