I’m naturally a very task-oriented person. It took me probably too long to learn to be more relational and connect with clients and colleagues on a personal level too.  It was one of my first coaching clients who commented that I always dove into the work immediately. I thought my action was respectful of his time and money. When he asked if we could just chat first, I really understood the importance of being more relational and now it’s one of the key areas in which we coach leaders.  

If you’re not sure if you’re more relationship or task oriented, here’s an easy test: When a task-oriented person gets interrupted by someone they get irritated. When a relationship-oriented person gets interrupted they think “Yay! Let’s talk. This is way more fun than what I was doing!”  

The important thing to know is that the best leaders know how to balance both sides.    

One client recently saw a dramatic change in the productivity of her team just because we coached her to start asking a personal question during one-on-ones. She also added a shout out at a team meeting about something a team member had done because she knew this person appreciated public accolades.  Those extra few minutes of connecting and appealing in a personal way make a huge difference to others.  

It’s also important to understand that the way you treat others can impact productivity.  If you are not focused on building relationships, yet you are very demanding, often your team members will just do the bare minimum. So, in addition to providing our clients with productivity hacks on how to leverage technology and manage their time efficiently we focus a lot on the talent side of the equation too.   

Building relationships gives you a level of trust on which to drive productivity.  You can’t get to trust someone until you like them and you can’t get to like someone until you get to know them.  The sooner you focus on the “soft side of productivity” the quicker you will see the return in your time invested. 

So, how about you: are you a task or relationship orientated person?

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