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Do Effective Leaders Focus More on Relationships or Results?

The answer is yes. Leadership data from the Full Circle Group and many other topflight leadership think tanks clearly show that the most effective leaders have essentially an equal focus – and are equally effective at – relationships and task accomplishment. 

Of the five creative leadership competencies that the Full Circle Group’s research has identified, half fall on the “Task” side of the equation, and half on the “Relationship” side.  Here is how they break down:


The relationship competencies are about more than just being a “people person.”  Relationally effective leaders connect with other people in an emotionally authentic and engaging way. They do so in a way that consistently brings out the best in people and inspires others to want to perform well for themselves, their team, and the organization.  Relational leaders are also very self-aware, checking themselves to ensure they are present and genuine in their interpersonal exchanges. They know when they are likely to cause problems for themselves relationally, and they manage themselves accordingly. They are honest and act with high integrity, all of which build trust and collaboration within their teams. 


Effective leaders also must get things done that support the purpose and mission of the business. Integrity and authenticity are both integral here too. Still, perhaps the central element of effectiveness in terms of tasks is the ability to set and decisively maintain a clear and compelling vision for what initiatives and projects the organization should focus on in order to achieve business results. Task-oriented leaders must also be highly skilled at systems awareness – recognizing and caring about how the various parts of the business are interconnected. They know that when they take action in one part of the organization, they must be acutely aware of how the action may affect everything else in the company. 

In sum, highly effective leaders do not choose between tasks and relationships. They constantly toggle back and forth between them, creating an upward spiral of synergy where connecting with and supporting people leads employees to want to work creatively and competently to support the business’s goals. Meanwhile, when tasks are accomplished and business goals are met, employees feel important and engaged, and they, along with shareholders, reap the financial and other benefits of the business performing well.

To learn more about whether your leadership effectiveness could improve by deepening your task and/ or relational skills, email us at ben@benjaminpapa.com to schedule a free initial consultation.