Watch a brief preview of The Extraordinary Leader to evaluate the content taught in our one-day workshop! WATCH NOW

Blog

6 Keys To Having It All: Outstanding Results And Engaged Teamby Zenger Folkman June 29, 2017

Recently a client mused, “Is it possible to be a high-standards, results driven leader; while at the same time building an engaged, fun-to-work with team?" Many people would contend that doing either of these things well makes it almost impossible to succeed at the other.

To explore this question further, my colleague Jack Zenger and I examined 360 assessments from more than 60,000 leaders. The assessment measured both a leader’s ability to drive hard for results and his or her people skills. We isolated leaders who were in the top quartile on both obtaining results and people skills.

The verdict: We found only 13% of leaders in the overall dataset were in the top quartile on both. We were fascinated to see what insights we would gain from understanding what this group of 7,800 leaders did differently than the other 87%.

Characteristics Of The Rare Group Who Does Both

In a recent Harvard Business Review article we shared that leaders who are under 30 years of age are 2-3 times more likely to be effective at both results and engagement than their older compatriots. Nearly one-third of the group under 30 years achieved both priorities well. At around age 40, it seems, leaders appear to have made their choice between being results driven or interpersonally strong. From there forward, only 10% of leaders in any age group would do both things well.

This prompts some questions. If someone early in their career is able to do both things, could they recapture that ability? Could we preserve that flexibility of being both results oriented and engaged if we began at an earlier age to offer appropriate development?

The Impact Of Position

Supervisors are much more likely to carry both capabilities, we found. In fact, supervisors are twice as likely to do both things well. In this case we did see some decline in both skills with age, but people skills declined more than the “drive for results” as leaders moved from supervisor to top management. Both skills decline with age, and age and position are strongly correlated with each other.

What Makes Leaders Well Rounded

To understand how and why some leaders are able to perform both capabilities well, we compared the results for the group in the top quartile on both skills to all other leaders in the dataset. We analyzed 40 behaviors and performed a statistical test ( t-tests) contrasting both group’s results. Then, by analyzing the items showing the most significant differences, we performed a factor analysis and identified six clustered groups. These appear to be the behaviors that enable that 13% of leaders to consistently use both sets of leadership skills.

We labelled these clusters “Behavioral Bridges,” because the evidence suggests they enable leaders to simultaneously “drive for results” and practice good interpersonal skills. Obviously, these outcomes single leaders out as possessing six powerful skills that allow them to perform at a much higher level than those who lack these traits. 

1. Communicates Clear Strategy And Direction

Drives For Results People Skills
Top results rely on everyone having clarity about the direction and understanding the strategy to achieve it. Confusion leads to frustrated and dissatisfied employees. Leaders who communicate well and provide well-defined direction have a much more involved team.

2.Inspires And Motivates

Drives For Results People Skills
When a leader has the ability to drive hard for results and at the same time to inspire high effort and performance they are much more likely to achieve results. Inspiring behavior unleashes the energy within people to do their best work. Leaders who can inspire and generate loyalty, commitment and enthusiasm in their team members excel at creating a optimistic work environment. 

3. Establishes Stretch Goals

Drives For Results People Skills
If you want to get others to work harder and raise the bar, than get team members to set stretch goals. When stretch goals are collaboratively set with a team, amazing things happen. Everyone is “all in.” People feel valued and competent.

4. High Integrity And Trust

Drives For Results People Skills
Team members who do not trust their leaders struggle to support the stretch goals that they set. A key component of building positive relationships with others is being trusted. To be trusted leaders need to walk their talk.

5. Develops Others

Drives For Results People Skills
Leaders who care about the development of subordinates and who also take the time to develop these people reap the benefits in the results produced. Most people want the opportunity to develop new skills and competencies.   Developing others has the two-fold impact of elevating performance and also creating a culture that is fun and engaging.

6. Coachability

Drives For Results People Skills

Leaders who resist feedback are much like the emperor with no clothes. Since they do not seek or want feedback, people see do not speak up. Problems fall in the cracks. Deadlines are missed.

However, if a leader seeks feedback and is receptive to advice, colleagues will not stand by if they see that leader about to make a mistake.

Leaders who ask for feedback from others and work to make improvements are highly respected. Their coachability is an example to everyone.

The ability to drive for results paired with excellent people skills is a very powerfully combination — so powerful, in fact, these leaders rank in the 91st percentile for overall leadership effectiveness. Your lesson in this should be clear: Identify at least one of two of these “Behavior Bridges” to help you develop these behaviors yourself.


Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.