There are generally two types of leaders in the world: one leader is better with people, and the other is better with process. In John C. Maxwell’s The 5 Levels of Leadership, the first leader is considered a natural Level 2 (relationship) leader, and the other is considered a natural Level 3 (production/results) leader. To be clear, you must be both relationship- and results-focused to be successful as a leader. But the reality is, most people have a strong leaning toward one characteristic or the other that is driven by natural personality and temperament.
“Leaders touch a heart before asking for a hand.” John C. Maxwell
In The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell shares the Law of Connection, which is the concept that a leader must touch a heart before asking for a hand. Level 2 leadership (relationships) is touching the heart. Level 3 (production/results) is asking for the hand. There is a danger zone for both leaders mentioned above. If you camp out at Level 2, you may miss on results. If you skip Level 2, you may lose your people. So, if you’re still working on growing beyond your level, how do you still achieve results as a leader?
5 Ways to Deliver Results Regardless of Your Level
The good news is that you can deliver results regardless of your natural leaning toward either people or results! Here are five ways to deliver results, whether you are people/relationship-driven or task/production-driven:
1. RECOGNIZE YOUR PREFERENCE AND WHERE YOU NEED TO GROW.
- People/Relationship-Driven: If your preference is people/relationships, you need to hold yourself to a higher standard of productivity. Accept that you prefer engaging with people, and then be intentional about being productive.
- Task/Production-Driven: If your preference is task/production, you need to value people as much as their abilities. This will require you to recognize (show appreciation for) the person behind the results.
2. BE INTENTIONAL IN MAKING CHANGES.
- People/Relationship-Driven: You need to have a plan when you meet with people. While it’s okay to want to check in with people and chat, be more intentional about the reasons you’re taking up someone’s time.
- Task/Production-Driven: You need to be intentional in expressing empathy for what’s happening in the lives of your people. While you will want to focus on the work and what the person is doing, instead, realize that everyone has something going on in their lives and take a moment to let them know you care.
3. FACTOR IN TIME.
- People/Relationship-Driven: Set a relational time limit in meetings. Your tendency may be to spend extended time catching up and checking in. While this is important, set a timer on this and work on sticking to an agenda.
- Task/Production-Driven: Take time to listen and observe non-verbal clues. Your tendency will be to provide direction and keep moving. Instead, take time to ask questions and listen to what others say. Listening is the number one way to show you value someone.
- People/Relationship-Driven: Take the extra step to do your homework and know your numbers and KPIs. It can be easy for relationship types to focus so much on people and relationships that they fail to fully embrace the scoreboard. Know your key performance indicators (KPIs) and learn to move people to achieve results with both data and encouragement.
- Task/Production-Driven: Go out of your way to encourage and compliment the people on your team. People need to know they are valued and appreciated. If you want to fully engage the people on your team, you need to take the extra step to show you value them.
5. REWARD AND RESPECT.
- People/Relationship-Driven: Focus on praising effort but rewarding results. Your tendency as a relationship person is to acknowledge, appreciate, and reward how hard people are working, whether they are producing or not. Instead, continue to recognize and appreciate effort, but reward only results.
- Task/Production-Driven: Focus on respecting people’s feelings and making your interactions a safe place for team members to be open. With a preference for production, you may set high standards and demand accountability from others. That’s not a bad thing, but you also need to balance that by showing respect for the people on your team and communicating that it is safe to come to you.
If you don’t deliver results in your role, you likely won’t be in a leadership position very long. Avoiding the danger zone caused by your natural wiring requires awareness and intentionality in leading your team. If you learn to balance your task and relationship skills, you’ll not only deliver outstanding results, but you’ll also start to grow your people to achieve their own potential!
About Perry Holley
Perry Holley is a coach and facilitator with Maxwell Leadership, as well as a published author. He has a passion for developing others and seeing people grow into the leaders they were intended to become.
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