Leaders wear many hats. They may be group moderators, listeners, strategic thinkers, decision makers, coordinators. With the many callings of a leader, it can be easy to become blinded by a desire to achieve results. And why not ? Isn’t that what a leader was chosen to do, achieve a particular outcome? But often , as leaders turn their attention towards results, they lose sight on what creates success: people.
To many, this may sound counter-intuitive. Achieving desired outcomes is what a leader is elected or chosen to do. But when this becomes the primary focus of a leader, listening skills, team building, and other human development aspects suffer. While the conflicts may not be immediate, people will soon find that a leader in this mindset no longer cares about his or her team, but solely the outcome. When this point has been reached, morale and productivity will quickly decrease.
Conversely, a leader that focuses on people first is able to bring the best out of others. He or she is able to create an environment where others are able to exceed their own expectations, as they develop the skills needed to benefit themselves and the team. And although the leader is focused on people first, he can spend his time helping others focus on the goal. The product of this leadership style is leading from behind, in which the leader plays a supportive, “People Focused” role. In the long term, motivation will be higher, longevity will increase, and their will be a greater passion for the team, organization, and the outcome.
So as a leader, it is important that we remain focused on whats important. Certainly, desired outcomes and goals are neccisary, but they shouldn’t be the sole focus of a leader. Leadership is being in the people business, creating an environment in which others are able to exceed their own expectations. When we have achieved this, success will soon follow.