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November 30, 2013

Leadership Thoughts #3 Results verses Relationship

As you lead throughout the day, do you find yourself motivated more through positive relationships or positive results? Obviously most leaders want to see positive results in their organizations. For corporations, these positive results may be defined in profitability or efficiency; however other organizations may look to attendance or population growth as a positive result. While organizations as a whole typically measure success through positive results, individual leaders may find that they are more drawn to the relational side of leading. While most leaders aim to influence and lead people, their styles are different when it comes to naturally valuing relationships or results. Even though leaders might be drawn to one side of the spectrum, some of the best leaders are able to find a balance between the two. Valuing relationships AND results is the fourth key in becoming a servant leader according to Mark Miller’s SERVE Model.



Think of relationships and results as the “love languages” of a leader. For a leader that values relationships, having a deep conversation with one of his team members could potentially energize and refresh him. Even better, when the leader sees growth and progress from that individual, he feels recharged and might even find purpose in his otherwise mundane responsibilities. These leaders tend to manage through influence and easily find common ground among the team. Often motivating their team through personal and professional development; this leader can easily make a champion out of the underdog as he determines what motivates each player, and relates that to the common goals of his team.

On the other end of the spectrum is the leader that is motivated through results. This leader is the kind of person that gets absolutely giddy over charts and graphs. Leaders that are results oriented can make sense of even the most complicated set of data and quickly turn it into an action plan for even more results! This leadership quality is very important and is necessary to lead a team. Even an endless number of warm, fuzzy conversations cannot make up for the fact that knowing the current state of an organization is vital to being able to cast a vision for the future. This leadership style might find an individual more comfortable analyzing numbers and leading through results, rather than building influence through relationships. These types of leaders easily inspire others by helping them find a sense of accomplishment through achievement and healthy organizational vitals.


Leaders can limit their own effectiveness if they find themselves in the “extremes” of this spectrum. An extremely relational leader might be so caught up in building connections with people that they eliminate professional boundaries or lose sight of the overall purpose of their organization. Highly results oriented leaders may be so focused on the tangible goals of the organization that they find themselves insensitive to the needs of their team members, or out of touch with their community or consumers.


Because there are strengths in both styles, it is often more convenient for leaders to stay within their comfort zone. However, it is important to realize that team members are also motivated through different styles. In an effort to properly serve them and be most effective for the organization, leaders should focus on finding the balance between relationships and results.



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