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Great Leaders Organize and Align People to Produce Best Results 

Many new leaders often ask me, are great leaders more focused on results or people? Which makes the better leader, a no-nonsense, drive-home-the-results type or the motivational, let’s-put-people-first style?

Well, in 2009 James Zenger published an extraordinary study of 60,000 employees in an attempt to answer this question. His survey was designed to identify if different characteristics of a leader affected whether employees perceived the leader as a great leader or not.

Leadership Skills | Leadership Behaviors

Great leaders organize and align people to produce best results.

The results of this study were astonishing and crystal clear. If a leader was perceived by his or her staff as being strongly results focused, then that leader was seen as a great leader only 14% of the time. Likewise, if a leader was perceived by his or staff as being strongly focused on people, then that leader was seen as a great leader only 12% of the time.

However, those leaders who displayed a balanced approach and focus on both results and people were perceived as great leaders a phenomenal 72% of the time. So the answer to the question of results focus vs. people focus is not either one or the other, but clearly a combination of both. This has certainly been true of the great leaders I have worked under, consulted, or coached.

Great leaders know full well that performance results and change implementation are actually best derived from the engagement and motivation of team members, particularly those who receive continuous skill development.

As Marilyn Hewson succinctly puts it, “Good leaders organize and align people around what the team needs to do. Great leaders motivate and inspire people with why they’re doing it. That’s purpose. And that’s the key to achieving something truly transformational.

Going from being a manager to becoming a leader is all about mindset…where you place your focus and attention…and whether your mental focus is placed on getting things done or about leading people to achieve results.


This article is excerpted from my book Great Leadership Words of Wisdom, which is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.



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