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Title: Servant Leadership – Relationship Builder vs. Task Master

The fifth of a 6-Part Series on Servant Leadership


Over the past several weeks we have been focusing on the principles of Leadership, with a specific look at Servant Leadership. This week we’re going to cover the ultimate key to success as a Servant Leader – developing a balance between relationship management and task management.


The basic concept of leadership is being able to get things done through others. Sounds simple, but it is not. The complexity of leadership comes from the methodology a boss uses to influence their team - through the management of tasks or the development of relationships.


The traditional method that bosses use is to influence their team through task management. The team does what the boss says mostly because the boss told them too. Once the instructions are given, then the boss manages the team to accomplish the tasks that they are responsible for. The boss’ focus is primarily on making sure the tasks are done completely and accurately. The extreme of this style is called Micro-Management. For short periods of time, this is probably the easiest way to manage people. It simply focuses on whether the person did or didn’t correctly complete their work. Managers that use this style of leadership over long periods of time run the risk of damaging relationships with individuals on their team. This is where the saying “people don’t quit their company, they quit their boss” comes from.


Over the past many years, there has been a growing number of managers and executives who have switched their focus from managing tasks to managing relationships. With the growing challenge of finding good and experienced workers, companies have started paying more attention to developing stronger relationships with their associates. On the surface, this sounds like it might be a good idea. The only problem is that many managers have taken this too far. They have gone to the point of being afraid to hold people accountable for getting work done. Just like being too focused on tasks, being too focused on relationships to the detriment of getting the work done, is not a good thing either.


Heathy companies are built on a balance between developing relationships and managing tasks. Thriving companies need and want a strong relationship with their people. It is so important for the team to feel appreciated and know that they play an important role in the company’s success. At the same time, the managers of the company also need to let their people know that they will be held accountable for successfully accomplishing their respective roles and responsibilities. This is what Servant Leadership is all about; finding an effective balance between showing you care and getting the work done.


Servant Leaders develop the skills needed to strengthen relationships with their team while holding them accountable for results. Developing these skills is what ultimately what allows a manger to evolve into a true and effective leader.


Over the next week take a few moments to pay attention to how you are leading your team. Is your focus more on managing tasks or relationships? Or, have you found a balance between managing both? If you have, you will see it in the strength and commitment of your team to achieve the results they are responsible for. If you’re not there yet, stay tuned for next week’s article where we will share how to develop a culture of Servant Leadership.


This is the fifth segment of Anavo’s 6-part series on Servant Leadership. You can find all of our articles on the blog page.

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