Great leaders balance task-focus (getting things done) with people-focus (inspiring, developing, and empowering others). They recognize that it’s not about being efficient, it’s about being effective.

Ironically, an intense focus on efficiency can make leaders less effective overall. The ability to execute and get things done is essential, but it can become a leader’s downfall if it comes at the expense of a more people-based focus.

Building relationships, inspiring a team, developing others, and showing empathy aren't things that slow the best leaders down and impede their ability to execute; it's what ultimately makes them successful.

If you sense that you may be overly task-focused, here are some suggestions to re-set your priorities:

Get feedback. Ask others how well they think you balance your task-focus versus your people-focus.

Identify ways to focus on people. Have career development conversations with direct reports, and have coffee with a colleague.

Self-reflect. Build greater self-awareness by noticing in real-time when you are impatient or moving too fast. It also provides an opportunity to be more present.

To be clear, task-focus and achieving results are vital for any leader, but without people-focus, success will be limited at every level.


Inspired by: Harvard Business Review - Why Highly Efficient Leaders Fail, by Rebecca Zucker