Don* inspired people with a vision of a whole new future for their organisation. One very excited group picked up on his ideas and started to make big things happen. They invited him to come and see the results they were producing. He was blown away by how much further they had expanded on what he had originally envisaged. It was consistent with his objectives though.
When we spoke later about the visit he was initially disappointed, saying they talked about it like it was their concept when it was actually based on his idea. He had barely finished the thought when he realised that having the team take ownership of the vision was in fact a very good thing. He did not need the recognition; he had already had plenty of that in his career. The fact that they thought it was their idea meant that they would take it beyond where they would have gone if it had been pushed on them. He wanted results and the team was delivering them.
Once he gave up his desire to be seen as the top dog he realised that two things were possible. One was that he could move his attention to the next team and the results that they could produce to forward his vision. The second impact was that he was no longer the ‘lid’ on the team and they could step up their own level of leadership and produce even bigger results than he had thought possible.
The influence curve below is our attempt to codify the stages of influence that leaders go through as they expand their ability to produce results through others. Don exemplifies the service stage of the influence curve as he relinquished control to a capable team.
Interestingly, James Zenger surveyed over 60,000 employees to see which leadership characteristics made leaders “great” in the eyes of their employees. He found that neither ‘people’ nor ‘results’ focus alone consistently produced great leadership. However, he found that leaders who balanced their focus equally on results and people were seen as great 72% of the time.
However, in a separate study it appears that less than 1% of leaders were seen as having a combined people and results focus!
So therein lies the opportunity to accelerate your career objectives. Leaders who expand their ability to influence others to produce big results are the game-changers that the market will increasingly seek.
How could you balance your focus on people and results?
Best regards, Brian
*Name changed to protect the innocent
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