team.leader.hurtYour department’s strategy is only as strong as the ability to execute at the frontline. You can have all the great plans, six sigma workouts, and brilliant positioning in the universe, but if the human beings doing the real work lack the competence, confidence, and creativity to pull it off, you’ll be muddling through.

The team leader role is a tough gig- in all organizations, but particularly in the increasingly complex government space. Team leaders are uniquely squashed between supporting the folks doing the heavy lifting leaders above rolling out strategy. Throw in the complexities of regulation and navigating slippery political scenes and you’ve got a sure recipe for a stressful day.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

To make matters worse, many team leaders are promoted into the role based on their exceptional technical skills, tenure, and general good spirits, without much scaffolding or support.

In all the frontline teams I’ve worked with over the years, I see 7 vital roles to exceptional execution. Whether you’re a team leader yourself, on your way up, or a bit higher in the chain looking to develop the frontline leaders on your team, concentrate on exceptional execution in these vital roles.


Team leaders wear many hats, not always all at the same time. Concentrating on these 7 roles in your leadership development efforts will go a long way to exceptional frontline execution.


  • Key Question:  What’s most IMPORTANT?
  • Important Duties: Makes the vision relevant; identifies key priorities; translates policy and regulation to what matters most and why to the people the team is serving.


  • Key Question:  How do WE make a difference?
  • Important Duties: Rallies the team around a concrete picture of success; Shows the team that they are vital and able to accomplish something magnificent. The galvanizer stimulates creative thinking and solutions. The team feels part of something HUGE and important, because they are.


  • Key Question:  How can we best work TOGETHER?
  • Important Duties: Knows each team members strengths and motivations; Draws on strengths to create synergy. The connector doesn’t wait for formal meetings or memos… they’re at it every day, connecting to their team as a group and one on one. They have a unique gift of stepping away and encouraging the team to connect with one another.


  • Key Question: How do we IMPROVE?
  • Important Duties: Stretches individuals and the team; Expands individual and collective capacity. The builder inspires way past formal job descriptions and encourages people to prepare for the future—today.


  • Key Question: How can I HELP?
  • Important Duties: Offers support and removes roadblocks; Digs in and supports the team. The Backer puts ego aside and does what must be done.


  • Key Question:  How do we accomplish MORE?
  • Important Duties: Challenges the team to break through to new levels; Inspires creative ways to do more with less. The accelerator mindset is vital in times of budget cuts and holding patterns. The accelerator has a keen knack for moving the team forward despite the obstacles.


  • Key Question:  How do we SHARE our success?
  • Important Duties: Advocates for the team; Showcases team and individual accomplishments. Ambassodor’s create lifelong followings. Everyone wants to work for someone who promotes their work.

Not every day, not every time. But if you can nurture these key roles in your team (or for yourself) you will change the game.

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