What Do Leaders Do?

Leaders carry out key functions and specific tasks. Effective leaders know leadership is an art as well as a developed skill. Committed leaders actually study leadership in order to improve their own performance. Happily, there’s a wealth of writing on leadership, and more written regularly. There’s more and more research about leadership, too.

Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing.

—Marian Anderson (1897–1993), celebrated singer of the twentieth century

Each of the functions and tasks described here—compiled through various readings and my own perspective—is essential to help build the four relationships critical to effective fund development. More importantly, these functions and tasks are essential to develop a healthy organization.

The tasks are grouped into four function areas: people, organization, personal, and community.

1. The “people” function presents tasks that relate to the individuals within the organization.

2. The “organization” function focuses on tasks that bring people together as one entity, moving them forward to achieve the organization’s mission and vision.

3. The “personal” function focuses on the leader herself or himself.

4. The “community” function highlights tasks that connect the organization to the external community.

As you review this list of leadership functions, ask yourself:

  • How do I carry out these leadership functions as part of my life’s work, no matter in which organization ...

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