Can You Balance Results and Relationships?

The cheeky weather on Saturday the 25th of May this year gave a chilly start to the Africa Day celebrations in most parts of Zimbabwe. 

Huddling in balls of fleecy clothing, the hustling in Harare was punctuated with a deafening silence in many neighbourhoods due to the prolonged hours of power outages from the on-going massive load shedding schedules. 

I had to keep vehemently fighting off the overwhelming thoughts of how and why Africa had to be burdened with the descriptive of being the dark continent. Realising that I could easily fall into an early morning depression, I boldly got up and made a decision to walk around making prophetic declarations over the nation of Zimbabwe and the African continent. 

I silently prayed that power would be restored early so that I could get an opportunity to watch whatever was remaining of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech as he took the oath of office at his inauguration as South African president.

Reflections on balanced leadership!
As soon as the power was restored after lunch, I scrambled through the many different news channels in order to catch up with what was happening on the African continent as her sons and daughters celebrated Africa Day. 

My remote-control escapades were arrested by South African leadership expert Dr Mazwe Majola’s comments on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s inauguration speech. In his interview on one of the news channels he shared his sentiments on the task at hand and the need for balanced leadership. As the news channel religiously played the key highlight of the speech, “I will be a president for all South Africans,” I deeply reflected on the depth and density of these words. 
Can You Balance Results and Relationships?

How does a leader effectively balance results and relationships in order to leave a memorable legacy at the end of their term of office?

What’s wrong with being out of balance?
As a child, riding a seesaw was fun, wasn’t it? Well, except when you didn’t have equal weight on both sides—then it was just out of balance and someone got stuck in mid-air. That bears the question—is your leadership out of balance? 

Most likely it is because statistically, more than 85% of the population tilts toward being strong at either Results or Relationships and weak at the other. What’s wrong with being out of balance? 

The idea of balancing results and relationships is nothing new, but if we assume that character is the foundation of leadership, then there should be an inner motivation to accomplish the mission (get results) and take care of the people (build relationships). If you don’t get results, you can’t be truly successful in your work or justify your purpose and if you don’t take care of your people, some will quit and leave and some will quit and stay. 

In either case, it’s not a viable situation. So, in the long run, balancing a concern for people with accomplishing the mission is crucial to success.

The results-oriented manager focuses on efficiency, deadlines and budgets. The relationship-oriented manager focuses on people, and whether they’re happy and fulfilled in their work. Managing too strongly to either side of the equation can decrease initiative, drive, creativity and, ultimately, productivity. It also leads to distrust. The conundrum for all managers is in learning how to shape your natural leadership style to match the needs of your team. If you focus solely on results, your people will feel you don’t care about them, only about the bottom line. At the other extreme, focusing only on relationships leaves results-focused employees frustrated and demoralized.
Can You Balance Results and Relationships?
What’s Wrong with Being Out of Balance?
Abraham Lincoln has been repeatedly voted as America’s most popular president, probably because he achieved great results in the face of incredibly difficult circumstances. But, how did he do it? 

When I posed this question to hundreds of corporate managers when facilitating leadership development, overall attributes fell into four areas of leadership—trust, relationships, results, and emotional intelligence.

The best leaders exhibit all of these qualities; however, behaviours regarding “results” and “relationships” were mentioned more than all the others. In fact, more than 85% of the population tilts toward one or the other.

The idea of balancing results and relationships is nothing new; but, if we assume that character is the foundation of leadership, there should be an inner motivation to balance accomplishing the mission (get results) and taking care of the people (build relationships). By themselves, neither one is viable.

How Do You Gain a Better Balance?
First, accept the fact that most of your strengths are natural—we are born with them, and they are naturally out of balance. To get better, we have to change by learning some new skills (behaviours). 

You don’t need to give up who you are, but augment your strengths by adapting new behaviours that will make you more effective and will bring you more in balance.

Results-oriented leaders need to soften up. If this is your style, just the idea of softening seems anathema; but developing good interpersonal skills is what’s needed to make you a better leader. For example, learning to patiently listen, really understand, and then affirm the ideas of others can feel very uncomfortable. 

For some, the needed skill might be learning to give specific, positive feedback. It takes intentional courage for a thick-skinned, results-oriented person to do these “people” things that are so important.

Relationship-oriented leaders need to toughen up. For this leadership style, learning to be more decisive and more direct in giving guidance and setting standards is the goal. Conducting difficult conversations is essential to keep the organization and individual team members moving ahead toward successful execution. It may be intimidating, so plan out what you are going to say and then courageously deliver your message.
Can You Balance Results and Relationships?
Small Changes Pay Big Returns!
No matter which side of the balance scales you’re on, adapting new behaviours on your weak side—even at small levels—will lead to significant improvements. The key to growth is changing your behaviours under the daily pressures of life and work; there is no other way. Achieving a better balance is worth the effort. A productivity priority should always have a relationship counterbalance. Just remember, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. 

Organizations that focus exclusively on productivity often get a lot of work done, but have high turnover rates and poor cultures. Companies that focus too much on people and culture often struggle to be profitable. Striking the right balance becomes an important objective.

In order to have a healthy culture and productively get work done, a balance of priorities and Key Performance Indicators in the areas of people and productivity is vital.

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One of the primary goals of Oudney Patsika is to use media to change the cultural narrative. He aims to impact today’s culture with more accurate, responsible, and positive media stories about Christianity and the Church. Get In Touch Today!
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