Why leaders shouldn't focus solely on results
The title of this blog post might seem a little counterintuitive. After all, it is our duty as leaders to ensure our organizations and companies are working toward their mission and ultimately achieving results. We want to create value, we want to grow, we want to stay in business.
But another one of our duties is to lead our teams effectively. If we're creating an environment in which achieving results – at any and all costs – is the only thing that matters, our employees won't feel fulfilled in their roles.
This approach is what leadership guru Art Petty describes as "transactional management" and he argues that it "promot[es] short-term results while sacrificing engagement, loyalty, creativity, and respect."
Here are nine tips he offers to achieve results in an effective way:
- Lead first with respect. No one wants to work for a jerk. Even in tough situations, respectful communication is key in ensuring employees know they are valued.
- Always provide context. When discussing roles and responsibilities, be sure to share how they tie into the work the entire team is doing.
- Don't bark orders unless the patient will die or the building will burn. This circles back to being respectful. These tips on practicing humility are a good reminder to give employees the autonomy they need to succeed.
- Care for people. Servant leadership is all about investing in the personal and professional well-being of your employees. This builds trust and loyalty – strengthening the culture of your organization.
- Respect them enough to provide tough feedback and ample praise. If we want our organization to keep growing, our employees need to as well. Here are three strategies to give better feedback to help your team meet their potential.
- Hit the pause button on issues in the ethical gray-zone. Taking the easy way out to achieve a result isn't worth legal risks. We should always strive to be compliant in our actions, and promote principles to inspire good behavior in the office.
- Keep pushing them to grow on the run. Employees who are excited about their job are motivated to do their best. That means providing opportunities for growth, including a safe-space to make mistakes.
- Ask for their ideas. Just because we're the president or CEO of our organization doesn't mean we have all the answers. Create a solution-oriented environment and encourage employees' contributions.
- Let them own something and then something else. We hire employees for a reason. Instilling a sense of responsibility and ownership will create pride in what they do – and better results.
Instead of focusing on what you can squeeze out of your employees in order to achieve results, consider what you can give your employees to build an even more successful operation. Because in the end, our companies thrive only when our employees thrive. Culture is everything.
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