Leadership/Managerboat: Relationships Vs. Tasks – On the other hand…

John illustrates what happens when you have relationship without task.

Now shift gears. A different situation, this time a business scenario. I consulted with a company that had an energetic and extroverted sales manager, but whose team was just not pulling in its numbers. Her people had serious performance problems. I interviewed her in her office. She was in her late thirties, dressed in an understated business-casual style. Pictures of her kids and husband adorned the walls.

At the beginning of our session, she was defensive, insisting that her boss hadn’t made his expectations clear and that he had not resourced her with enough staff and data to do her job properly. But I had already received information from her boss showing that this wasn’t true. The company had done a good job of setting her up for success; she simply hadn’t produced. Finally, I said, “You’re a very relational person. I think you are friendly and warm with others, and you work hard. But still, apparently, you aren’t closing deals, nor is your team. The company’s expectations — ” She interrupted: “Really, though, shouldn’t that be enough? I’m a good person, a caring person. I hold this office together with my relational skills. And this company wants me to turn that off and become a work machine with no personality. I deserve to be appreciated for the things that I do for the company.” No matter what I did or said, I could not move her from the position that her relational skills should be enough, even if sales failed to come in. I knew I had a difficult assessment to give her boss.

Are you or somebody you know good about relationships but not so good about tasks. Maybe it’s hard to be firm. Or you’re hoping that good relationships and kindness will rule the day. That would be nice if that was true. But we are asked to walk in kindness AND truth. This is an important part of leadership development.

Townsend, John. The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way (p. 19). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

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