Leadership in a Box: 3 Rs “Results, Relationships, and Reputation”

There are dozens of leadership models. Some complex. Others focus on one aspect, while ignoring others. It is no wonder that many professionals have challenges steering their leadership journey.

Having talked to dozens of leaders from many fields, three leadership characteristics come up repeatedly. The importance of taking action and getting things done. The value of relationships to create impact beyond yourself. Finally, your reputation — or brand — as someone to be trusted. A leader who does what they say.

The fact is no leader can be effective if their strengths rest on just one of these pillars. Being out of balance, as a leader, sets you up for failure or even burn out. Think for a moment, about someone you know who always delivers –regardless of the cost. Sure they get results. But the relationships damaged on the way erode their credibility.

Here are three leadership dimensions (Results, Reputation, and Relationships) to assess the degree of balance in your leadership style.

1. Results…Creating Value for Others

Leadership is about action. Creating momentum. Generating value. Results are manifestations of your actions.

Whether the results be more revenue, happier customers or new products: results are the tangible measure of your success as a leader. It is your track record.

But markers of your success can be misleading. How you achieve results can be as important as a target obtained. Leaders that bulldoze to an outcome regardless of the human cost are often loathed. They can create untold stress for people. Sowing the seeds of future dissension and mistrust.

At its extreme, a sole focus on results can jeopardize long-term success for an immediate return. Bosses focused on wringing out an extra sales percentage, rarely motivate. Let us not forget, lopsided leadership styles are one of the key reason talent flees any organization.

Lasting “great” results come when you have created a movement. A common cause where others believe they can contribute to the summit of their talents.

2. Reputation…Matters

One of the best definitions of a personal brand I have read is “What people say about you when you are not there!”

Why, because people can be guarded in most professional environments. They are unlikely to say they think about you to your face. If they are candid, it is often because your relationship has met an impasse. Conflict seems like the only way to break the stalemate.

It is crucial, therefore, to know your reputation both in your organization and beyond with clients. Remember, your reputation is a composite: how you are perceived, the values you hold and your integrity.

Even if you work in a dysfunctional organization, a company with a bad or lackluster reputation, you can stand out. Being known as the person who helps solve problems, who takes responsibility and acts, is a sure way to be seen as a leader head and shoulders above your peers.

3. Relationships…Your Cobweb to Create Change

The saying “no leader is an island” is well taken. Great leaders achieve global impact because they mobilize others. The scale of their impact is based on the number of relationships built over a lifetime.

In simple terms, your greatness as a leader hinges on the strength of your relationships. As a leader, you can draw upon the talents, aspirations and energy of others to create change. You can only mobilize others if you have invested time and sweat in building those relationships.

Like all relationships, business relationships, are mutual. Whether it is customers, clients, and peers, mutual trust is the glue that holds you together. Both of you must have faith that you can rely on the other, especially when times get tough.

Like a shared bank account, relationships thrive only when both of you make a deposit and withdraws. Relationships that are drained quickly, breaking a sense of trust, are often because one party always takes without giving back. For example, taking the time to help solve a customer or colleague’s problem, without an expectation of reward, enriches your relationship. One more deposit.

So with relationships, invest more, invest often and share the dividend generously. You never know when you will have to lean on others.

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About the Author

Simon Trevarthen is Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer of Elevate Your Greatness (EYG). EYG helps individuals, teams and organizations unpack the secrets of success by becoming even better versions of themselves through dynamic keynotes, seminars and workshops on innovation, inspiration and presentation excellence.

Learn more about Elevate Your Greatness see www.elevateyourgreatness.com

Follow EYG on twitter: @Simon Trevarthen

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