Results Vs. Relationships


It seems that everywhere we turn, we’re striving for balance: Work vs. life balance. Strategic vs. tactical balance. And in the case with leadership, relationships vs. results balance. What’s wrong with being out of balance? In the case of leadership, if you don’t get results, you can’t be truly successful in your work, and if you don’t take care of your people, you will lose the team that can help you reach the organization’s goals. Balancing a focus on people with accomplishing the mission is crucial to success.

Yesterday Promotional Consultant Today outlined key characteristics of leaders who were more results-focused and those who were more relationship-focused. Today we are sharing these tips for achieving more balance if you teeter more to one side or the other.

Results-oriented leaders need to soften up. If this is your style, developing good interpersonal skills is what’s needed to make you a better leader. You know it–you just don’t want to go there. For example, learning to patiently listen, really understand and then affirm the ideas of others can feel very uncomfortable. For some, the needed skill might be learning to give specific, positive feedback. These “soft” skills would be as easy as breathing for many relationship-oriented leaders, but for the tough rational-results group, it can feel out of control. It takes intentional focus to achieve more with a softer approach.

Relationship-oriented leaders need to toughen up. If you’re someone whose style is naturally highly relational, learning to be more decisive and direct in giving guidance and setting standards can move you outside of your comfort zone. Conducting difficult conversations is essential to keeping the organization and individual team members moving forward. It may be intimidating, so plan out what you are going to say and then confidently deliver your message.

These are great ways to learn but when it comes down to actual growth, you have to change your behaviors; there is no other way. No matter which side of the balance scale you’re on, adapting new behaviors on your weak side, even at small levels, will lead to significant improvements.

What are you going to do differently? Take the first step today.

Source: Lee Ellis is a speaker and the author of Leading With Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton, in which he shares his experiences as a Vietnam POW and highlights leadership lessons learned in the camps. As president of Leadership Freedom, a leadership and team development consulting and coaching company, Ellis consults with Fortune 500 senior executives in the areas of hiring, team building, executive development and succession planning.


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