Many leaders struggle with balancing their focus on achieving results and creating a positive culture. An interesting article in HBR provides some insight into what strategy is most effective: if a leader is seen as strongly focusing on achieving results, the chance that she is seen as a “great leader” is only 14%. If a leader is perceived to focus on social skills, she will be seen as a great leader 12% of the times. However, if a leader focuses on both results and social aspects, the chance of being recognized as a great leader shoots up to 72%.
The catch? Only 1% of leaders do that.
What do we make of it?
It makes sense that good leaders should focus on getting things done through engaging the right team members the right way. Creating high performance teams and ensuring that these teams stay productive not only will produce the best results, but it will also be perceived as good, sound leadership.
What is more puzzling is why only 1% of leader rank high on both aspects. The article provides a neuroscientific answer: our brains are wired to focus on analytical thinking or on social thinking at any given point in time.
We don’t contest this, but we would also posit that company culture should at least in part work to optimize how the organization operates so that the natural human biases can be avoided. When we talk about a company as an active agent (as in “Acme company cares about customers”), aren’t we embodying the cultural aspects of the organization?
Why do we find it interesting?
For the industry
The article points out two crucial points in leadership: achieving results and managing people. However, it neglects one third key aspect: providing meaning.
In our opinion the healthcare industry cannot lose sight that it needs to constantly evaluate the impact that its decisions have on the bottom line, the employees and the patients. Without creating economic value, the company will not be able to operate for long. Without creating value for the people that commit much of their daily lives and energy to the organization, a company forgets a crucial role it has in society. Without putting patients first, it bypasses its main responsibility.
The bigger picture
At BioCeryx one of our mottos is Mission First, People Always, which took directly from the US Army’s handbook. Our mission is what brought us together, but it will be the team that will make it happen.