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Do you prefer leading “staff” teams or “line” teams?

1 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Do you prefer leading “staff” teams or “line” teams?

  • Staff — I like leading a function across the organization: 66.46%
  • Line — I like being directly involved in our front-line operations: 33.54%

Cross-functional leadership is exciting. The overwhelming majority of you clearly prefer leading a “staff” team versus a “line” team. These results are somewhat surprising. If “the line” is where the business executes, it would seem that people would gravitate toward leading those teams. One could argue the cross-functional roles give leaders a broader perspective and greater ability to drive impact across the company, but it’s hard to argue the excitement and importance of leading a line team as well. So why do you prefer a staff or a line leadership role? Share your thoughts in this poll’s comments, as this is definitely an interesting line of inquiry.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and author of “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”