Have you ever worked for a leader who was overly focused on results?
How about the leader who placed too much emphasis on relationships?
There's a resounding negative ripple effect when a leader has a lopsided orientation toward either results or relationships. Either way, the leader loses credibility. The challenge, then, is finding a balance between being both results-oriented and relationship-focused. The best leaders do this well.
Step 1: Seek the Balance
Having just the right amount of focus on both a results and relationships orientation is truly a balancing act. Consider the following.
Leaders who are overly focused on results…
- Often see leadership as something they "just have to put up with" in addition to their real work.
- Don't take time to build rapport with others.
- Show little regard to caring much about their team members' personal or professional needs.
- Lack empathy and listening skills.
- Experience higher turnover and lower levels of morale on their teams.
Leaders who place too much emphasis on relationships...
- Tolerate too many excuses and poor performance.
- Avoid difficult conversations.
- Become overly concerned about being accepted.
- Don't deliver results and fail to get things done.
- Have excuses for not executing consistently.
Leaders who demonstrate balance between both results and relationships…
- Have clear agreements with others. They don't leave people guessing at what is expected.
- Foster open communication.
- Pick up on early warning signals and provide direct and timely feedback.
- Show agility in relating to others by managing conflicting perspectives and bridging differences across communication styles, cultures, and interdepartmental priorities.
- Put others at ease and are seen as approachable.
- Can be counted on to deliver - often times exceeding expectations.
- Steadfastly push themselves and others to produce results.
It takes some exploration and a true sense of curiosity to find the balance. Which way do you lean? Are you over, under, or just perfectly balanced?
Step 2: Understand Your Natural Preferences
What's even more interesting is that our personality style naturally leads us to being tilted more toward either results or relationships. So the next step in the process is to ensure you have a clear sense of where your natural tendencies lie so that you can bring your results and relationship orientation in balance.
For example, best practices show that results-oriented people tend to be more driven versus low key. They also tend to address problems more directly versus being focused on maintaining harmony. It's not that being low key and maintaining harmony aren't important. They are. But not when it comes to driving results.
On the other hand, best practices indicate that relationship-focused people tend to exchange perspectives versus just presenting information. They also to be expressive and encouraging versus matter-of-fact. It's not that presenting information and being matter-of-fact aren't important. They are. But, not when trying to improve your relationship orientation.
How does your personality impact your ability to balance both results and relationships?
Step 3: Ask for Feedback
Finally, great leaders know that leadership development is really about self-development. They seek to understand the wake they leave behind as they lead others by asking for feedback on a regular basis from the people closest to them - their direct reports, peers, and manager. And, they incessantly focus on changing their behaviors until others perceive those changes.
Finding the balance between being both results-oriented and relationship-focused is critical to your leadership success. How do you find the balance? Share your ideas here.