How to develop effective leadership roles

How to develop leadership roles using the 4 components of leadership development

Shaping leadership roles using the 4 components of
leadership development

Developing effective leadership roles is one of the most powerful ways to boost the performance of your entire company, team or organization.

Just one key leader can send positive ripples through an organization. Using the 4 components of leadership development I explain here, you now have a way to develop effective leaders throughout your  business.

Leadership Roles vs functional roles

Most organizations categorize leadership roles into functional roles. These can include functions such as:

  • Coach
  • Facilitator
  • Influencer
  • Trainer
  • Manager
  • Motivator
  • Organizer
  • Communicator
  • Strategist
  • Integrator
  • Etc.

To shape effective leadership roles, you need to specifically train a functional role in the 4 components of leadership development.

How to supercharge job roles from functional roles to
leadership roles

My research has uncovered the meta structure that underlies all these and other leadership roles. That structure is comprised of the 4 components of all leadership.

Use of these 4 building blocks of leadership to each leader’s audience can turbocharge functional roles into leadership roles.

You can familiarize yourself with the 4 components of leadership development here:

The 4 components of all leadership roles

Leadership development can be grouped into four components.

Skilled development and use of these 4 components are the key to applying effective leadership roles to your audience:

1. Coercive control by nature of your position

The first and most basic form of leadership is “position power coercion.” Leadership power is derived through coercive control by nature of your position

This is defined in terms such as  management, authority, control, governance, head, integrate, manager, chief, boss, director, top dog etc.

2. Vision

The Vision component of leadership can be described as leading followers on a mission. Other descriptions include trailblazer, having prescience, ground breaker, frontrunner, futurist.

3. Influence

Influence is leadership through persuasion, motivation and charisma.

This includes empathy, pressure, encouraging, motivating, inspiring, manipulating, persuading, discouraging and to impel.

  • Influencers on social media: Online influencers are leaders in the sense that they are trusted advisors, who develop a niche following based on their shared interests with followers, such as beauty, physical skills, musical talent, cooking skills, photography, religion, politics, crafts etc.

4. Advisor

Trusted Advisor leadership is the hands-on skills of guidance, advising and mentoring.

These 4 leadership skills are the key to all leadership roles no matter what job function they are applied to.

What kind of shark are you? How the Shark Tank "sharks" employ the 4 components of leadership

The 4 components of leadership as followed by Shark Tank Sharks. photo owned & (c) 2024

You can look at the TV series Shark Tank as an example of skillful use of the four components of leadership:

  • Note the artful use of coercive skills by Mr. Wonderful Kevin O’Leary

  • How vision skills allow Lori Greiner to choose the right idea to develop into a
    successful company

  • How the mentoring skills of a Barbara Corcoran have produced tremendous returns for her and her companies

  • Note how the influencing skills of Mark Cuban allow him to pull companies that are the right “fit” to gravitate to him

 These sharks powerfully demonstrate the use of the 4 components of leadership in their own way.

What is leadership?

In order to shape leadership roles, we need to establish a working definition of what leadership is first.

For the purposes of shaping leadership roles:

  • The definition of leadership is “Influencing an audience using relevant types of persuasion.”

  • What is leadership development? “Developing audience influence skills within a functional leadership role”

  • What are leadership roles? “The embodiment of leadership within a functional role.”

These definitions give us a starting place for perspective on developing leaders in any organization.

Why leadership development goals must directly relate to the audience

To be a leader you must have followers who you ‘connect’ with. These followers are also known as your audience.

The leadership development goals of each leadership role is to focus on leading specific audiences.

Let’s establish what your audience is:

  • Your audience are silos of followers who you lead

In your leadership roles, these audiences can include these silos of followers:

Clients and customers

these are the people who pay money for your products and services, and who you are accountable to for agreed-on levels of products and services


The people who you report to and who control and are accountable for your performance in your job role.


People you directly manage or are responsible for in your department, business, team or organization


Those people who have equal ranking as you or are on the same organizational level or grouping as you. These could be all sales reps at a company or industry, all sales managers, all Millennials, all plumbers, all electricians, all accountants etc.


Media is communication by publication or broadcast, that reaches many kinds of audiences.

It can include online social media, websites, industry publications, news media, Radio and TV appearances, blogs, podcasts and numerous other digital communication vehicles.

How leadership roles focus on audiences

To maximize leadership development effectiveness, the percentage of focus on each of the 4 components of leadership development can be calibrated for each audience.

For example you might use much less advising and mentoring with a customer than with a subordinate.

There are three basic guidelines to leadership roles:

Some leadership roles may speak to specific individual audiences, while senior leadership roles such as C-level may speak to all audiences.

  • Each leadership role needs to know how to connect with each kind of audience: Clients, customers, peers, subordinates, management, media, etc.

  • They will need to know how to concisely communicate the organization’s objectives and value proposition as it applies to each audience

  • Be effective and proficient with wielding the 4 components of leadership in order to:
    1. Convey the organization’s objectives to all levels of audiences

    2. React to any leadership scenario, including crisis, emergencies and especially opportunities

What are roles and how are they structured?

Roles are a set of beliefs. They give you a working structure to express your identity.

For purposes of leadership roles, your identity is a functional role such as coach or mentor.

Think of roles like the wood frame of a house. The frame supports the plumbing, electric, insulation, siding and roof.

In that same concept, your leadership roles act as the working structure that hold all aspects of who you are:

  • They incorporate all your personal qualities into one unified leadership persona: your beliefs, talent and character traits – all working together as one – to powerfully lead your clients, customers, peers and subordinates (collectively, your “audience”)

  • They define your power – and also your boundaries

  • They are how you most authentically serve your audience

  • Roles define your leadership brand, and where you “fit” in the larger scope

Why you need to play the ‘right’ leadership roles

Playing the right leadership roles are what will determine the success of those roles.

For example, in a movie or TV show, actors assume roles. How well they play them determines their value and success. If they don’t “fit” a role well or are miscast, a movie or TV show can be a flop.

Conversely, a very strong role, well played, can make an actor a star for life.

The same concept works for you in your leadership roles. You’ll identify the “right” leadership roles by using the 4 components of leadership development that fit you best.

Using Shark Tank as a metaphor, don’t try to play Mr. Wonderful when you are a Marc Cuban. Let your leadership reflect you.

The 3 steps of leadership roles development

The development of leadership roles requires 3 steps.

Going through these steps help you to establish your leadership development goals. Only then are you in a position to know how to apply leadership roles.

  1. Establish:           Who is your audience (Which group of followers need leadership)?

  2. Identify:              What kind of leadership role(s) serve that audience?

  3. Prioritize:           What are the areas of development for leaders to focus on?

Once these 3 concepts are framed out, you have the basis for a leadership coaching strategy you can implement quickly.

Its just a matter of applying the 4 components of leadership to the right area of development. 

Bill Belichick or Genghis Kahn: What kind of leader do you need to develop?

The right kind of leader for your organization requires looking at your business objectives and your audiences.

For example:

  • Do you have a hard crowd of employees who need a Genghis Kahn style leader who is a merciless conqueror? Or do you have an artistic environment and want to develop a Taylor Swift lifestyle influencer?

  • Do you want to develop the entrepreneurial leadership skills of an Elon Musk? Or do you want to develop a Bill Belichick style leader who is super prepared, so that he is able to make game time decisions on the fly?

  • Do you want the leadership style of a Pete Rose, the ‘hardest worker in the room’ who leads by example? Or do you want a perky and humorously inclusive Reese Witherspoon style that keeps everyone delighted but unfocused?

These decisions need to be made based on what works for your organization and your industry.

Once you determine what kind of leadership roles you want to develop, then you can determine what their leadership development goals and objectives are.

How to identify which leadership roles to focus on

Here’s a shortcut to identify the best development areas for leaders to focus on:

  1. Identify who your audiences are including: peers, subordinates, management, media, clients and customers

  2. Establish how to apply the 4 components of leadership to each individual audience

  3. Prioritize which skills your leaders need to develop to lead them

  4. Develop leaders in  functional roles that embody those leadership skills

Leadership development is audience development

It’s important to note that leaders don’t “create” followers. A leader coalesces feelings and beliefs that are already present within followers.

Leaders learn how to deploy the 4 components in order to resonate with needs that already exist in human mental engineering.

For example, social media influencers satisfy an already existing need for a trusted advisor on a given topic.

Elon Musk had a vision for combining technology and energy to satisfy the need for energy efficient autos, spacecraft and boring machinery.

In the same way, your leadership roles should be build to resonate with the audience.

Ultimately, leadership role development is audience development! 

Developing leaders is employee development

If you are ready to implement a complete, thorough employee development plan, my Employee Development Plan Template Kit is a failproof way to performance improvement.

It includes an individual development plan template for leaders.

For a complete Employee Development Program, get the Employee Development Plan Template Kit. It’s designed to be win-win for both the employer and employee.

There is no huge learning curve or rollout process for employer. The excel templates are straightforward and simple to complete for employee.

  • Employer guide helps employer through the quick setup of plan – typically in less than an hour

  • It includes specific instructions, examples and screen shots to quickly set up, build and implement an individual employee development plan

  • It provides step-by-step instructions for managers to administer and run quarterly review and employee coaching plan in 15 to 20 minutes

  • Can be integrated with existing HR platforms by being scheduled as a quarterly document

2 Bonuses included

1. A cost effective rewards program template to motivate employees and

2. A more comprehensive leadership development plan template to develop key employees

It’s truly the ultimate employee development program. Effective for up to about 25 developable employees and leaders.

Here’s where to learn more and get started on boosting your employees job performance from day one:

Note: This leadership role development plan guide is written by a real human, synthesizing many years of experience and research to provide you with a relevant solution.

It was not written by an A.I. bot that ‘covers all the bases’ by rehashing other articles, yet doesn’t provide you with true human-helpful conclusions.

About the author:

Larry LaFata is the founder of He is a Career Development Coach and a Career Mindset Coach.

Larry LaFata, founder

He is dedicated to help you develop your career potential to the fullest, regardless of your background, education or experience.

His innovative courses include Leadership Development Plan using composite role models and Employee Development Workshops for small businesses a two hour online workshop to set up and implement small business plans.

More employee development plan resources

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Larry Lafata, Career Discovery Coach

Larry LaFata is founder of and the world’s only Career Discovery Coach. He is dedicated to help you discover your Career Destiny, regardless of your background, education or experience. His innovative courses include Define Your Career Destiny one week home study course and Career Destiny Workshop for Besties.

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