Managing Relationships and Results

Lee Ellis is a leadership consultant who recently put a graphic on the Internet.

It was a picture of an “old time” scale and balance, the traditional image of the scales of justice. On one side of the scale was the word “Relationships” and on the other “Results”.

Under “Results”, it says Leaders must achieve results to remain in business. In the middle, there’s a “but”. On the other side, under “Relationships”, it says leaders must make relationships, because it’s people who do the work.

According to Lee, the leader has to achieve a balance between the two.

Simply said, but not always easily done. In my experience, when leaders aren’t performing well, this balance between relationships and results can be the best place to start the analysis.

First, chances are you’ve built your career on getting results or building relationships. Each person can usually identify which way he tilts.

Second, there’s a tendency to lean more into your tilt when the pressure is on. For instance, a results oriented leader will focus on actions designed to turn the organization around. He may say things in a harsher way or be more pointed in criticism.

The reverse is true of those who favor relationships. When the pressure is on, they can be focused on relationship building at the expense of seeking results.

Ellis suggests another approach. Once you know the way you tilt- relationships or results- work hard and regularly on the other area to bring your tilt in balance.

In other words, don’t overuse your strength. It is natural to go the way your strength takes you. It’s smart to be developing your skills on the other side. You need them.

So, if you tilt toward results, slow down, listen more soften your tone says Lee.

If you tilt toward relationships, tighten up. Be tougher on expectations and accountability. Be courageous resolving conflict.

The team will prosper and grow from your leadership.