More focus on achieving goals than people?

Managers, business owners, or entrepreneurs have many responsibilities.  One of them is to help their staff learn, develop new capabilities, and grow.   However, their most important job, being a servant leader, is not always a priority.  The reason is that leadership sometimes focuses more on achieving goals than people.

Why more focus on achieving goals than people?

In traditional businesses, the desire to meet goals drives the company culture.  Therefore, leaders focus on activities to achieve them.  Most of the time, the target is cost reduction.   Some cultures give so much importance to it that rewards reducing costs without regard to the means.  That is a way to promote a toxic work environment where achieving goals is more important than caring for the people.

On the other hand, in a continuous improvement culture, the focus is on the people.  Leaders understand that their job is to help their team to learn and grow.  Moreover, to build a culture of inclusion, respect, and collaboration.  The only way to achieve it is to keep people in the spotlight all the time.

Leaders and priorities

Hyper focus on the goals also causes another problem.  In their quest for achieving them, leaders may decide to do things on their own.  With that decision, two different things can happen.  One, they would stop training and mentoring, which will hinder their team development.  And two, they could go back to the control and command state.  These actions are the opposite of the learning and empowering environment that they would like to build.

Even when leaders recognize that the secret ingredient for the business’s success is their people, sometimes they lose focus on their team.  For me, this is one area where I keep working to improve.  I want to be so effective with my time that often, I do not allow myself to deviate from my goals for the day.   The problem is that sometimes that means that I only do what I planned.  For instance, I don’t take advantage of informal situations to keep building my relationships because I am focused on something else.  

How not more focus on achieving goals than people?

Highly efficient leaders know how to balance their time between people-focused activities and their other tasks.    We need to ensure that we included some time to fulfill our top responsibility with our team, build relationships, and enjoy being part of the group of people we work with.  Including the intention to do it in our daily plans is a way to ensure that we don’t overlook it.  Include a reminder to check on your colleagues and team members is not cold and calculated.  On the contrary, it is a way to recognize that it is so critical that it deserves a top spot in your leader standard work.

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