We might say that team leaders come in two distinct flavors: those who believe the primary mandate is to develop people and those who view the primary directive as delivering outcomes. Both brands of team leaders believe results sustain the team, but one focuses on producing long-term results by tapping the potential of people, while the other achieves results by completing each and every project with excellence.
Leaders who skew toward delivering outcomes focus on driving work to completion. They regularly check in on the status of projects and focus on the quality of the work and the progress people are making. In this sense, they serve as a catalyst to push work forward, ensuring everyone is focused on excellence.
Leaders who lean more heavily toward developing people want team members to reach their potential by doing the best work possible right now. They check in more about how others are doing as opposed to how the work is progressing. How people achieve results matters more to these leaders than the results themselves, and they fixate on creating a positive work climate where people can do their best work.
The most Admired Leaders work diligently to blend both flavors. Finding leaders with strengths on both sides of this dichotomy is rare, but leaders who aspire to greatness aim for it. Keeping both mandates in mind as we develop as leaders is essential for making true progress. Nearly all of us lean too heavily to one side and require some work to become a better blend.
Which flavor of leader are you?