Can you have high standards and push for results while building a fun and engaged work culture? Many leaders think you get born to a camp and stick with it, but is that true?
Imagine how productive and loyal a workforce would prove if leadership could do both. As it turns out, they can.
Leaders Can Do Both
A 2017 analysis of 360-degree data gathered from over 60,000 leaders found that 13 per cent ranked highest in both skills and made the 91st percentile. So, it’s possible to do both and do them well.
What special attributes do these successful leaders possess? Looking closer, researchers found that leaders under age 30 were two times more likely to prove effective in both engagement and results than older leaders. One-third of those under 30 achieved both functions well, but after age 40, leaders settled into their camps, and only 10 per cent did both well.
Why is that, and does it have to be that way? Anecdotally, young people appear to prioritize personal friendships with co-workers over older workers who prefer never to mix personal and professional lives. Maybe older folks know more people outside the office and prefer to focus on sharing their professional experience at work after their early years. However, the results correlated more with position rather than age. While both skills decline with age, those in supervisory positions were more likely to present both skills than senior managers.
Supervisors may feel the need to rely on people skills more to get their results due to possessing less power, but even CEOs would benefit from exercising both. Researchers analyzed 40 behaviors and contrasted both groups to identify six groups that those 13 percent of leaders expressed. Here they are:
- Communicates clear direction and strategy
Results-driven: Achieving top results necessitate everyone understanding the strategy behind the directions clearly. All must board the ship.
People-focused: When employees feel lost, they also feel dissatisfied. Leaders who offer clear direction engage their teams.
- Motivates and inspires
Results-driven: The likelihood of achieving set goals increases when a leader inspires performance and pushes for results. Most leaders push.
People-focused: Trust that employees want to make a positive difference. Leaders who generate loyalty and inspire their teams cultivate positive environments, enthusiasm and commitment.
- Creates stretch goals
Results-driven: Leaders create stretch goals that allow the team to set the bar higher and push for achievement.
People-focused: When leaders set stretch goals collaboratively with their team, everyone knows their place and feels inspired to contribute and highly valued in a fun environment.
4, Inspires trust and possesses high integrity
Results-driven: When the staff doesn’t trust their leader, and the leader sets stretch goals, employees will feel taken advantage of and manipulated due to questioning the leader’s motives.
People-focused: Trust is always essential to constructing positive relationships, and many employees don’t feel trusted by their leaders, resulting in lowered performance and morale. Leaders must be willing to do what they say.
- Develops the team
Results-driven: Leaders who care about the development of subordinates and take time to help grow team skills reap the rewards of increased productivity.
People-focused: Most team members desire to grow and develop their skills. Leaders who help clear the path and offer their expertise are seen in a positive light. Development elevates team performance and creates a culture of collaboration, engagement and fun, retaining talent rather than wasting it. One in five companies measure engagement, and more than half aren’t ready to be “always on” for their employees.
- Open to coaching
Results-driven: Leaders open to coaching encourage employees to speak up about kinks in the mechanism. Missed deadlines decrease. Leaders who seek feedback involve their team in catching mistakes and achieving goals.
People-focused: Leaders who desire and seek feedback from their team serve as coachable examples to team members and earn respect.
Don’t let your people skills deteriorate with age or desire to leave the personal at home. Likewise, people-focused leaders do well to drive for results among their team members to achieve higher standards and a sense of reward. Balancing these skills within oneself is possible.
Work with your team as a people-focused and results-driven leader. This combination strongly impacts the effectiveness of leadership, enabling higher performance than those who lack these skills. Bridge these skills in yourself to accomplish great things with your team.