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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
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.
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.
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.
9. 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.
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.
Y Scouts is an executive search firm that helps nonprofits and social enterprises find exceptional leaders. We believe the right leaders make all the difference. We have pioneered a revolutionary approach to identify exceptional leaders and match them to the positions you need. We’re passionate about the power of the right connections. Contact us if you are looking to find an exceptional leader. Or, to be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community.
Find A Leader
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.