Can Managers Drive Results and Engagement at the Same Time?

September 10, 2019 in Employee Engagement, Leadership

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A results-driven manager often wouldn’t be associated with a soft-skilled engaged one. However, as younger generations climb up the ladder, both results-driven and interpersonal skills are ever more important as a combined skillset.

Employees need to be motivated to perform (and target results the company desires) yet engaged enough to commit to making the ultimate drive towards ‘that great work’, rather than maintaining a passable, mediocre standard – that simply gets the work done.

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman studied the different managerial behaviours and formulated the results of managers that are deemed both results orientated while maintaining excellent interpersonal skills to be able to engage employees. You can read their article here at Harvard Business Review.

They found that leaders who drive for results and have excellent people skills were rated in the 91st percentile in their overall leadership effectiveness.

The clustered results were named ‘behavioral bridges’ and highlight the skills that these multi-talented managers possess to consistently increase results.

Behavioral Bridges

1. Communicates clear strategy and direction

When a team is on the same page as their manager, they understand the required results and have open communication on how to achieve it, then the possibility of success is greatly increased. Likewise, should a team member get lost along the way, lacking clarity and direction – open communication and re-clarification without judgment is essential for continued success. A confused team is a disengaged, dissatisfied team and thus should be avoided when possible.


2. Inspire and Motivate

When a manager inspires work and leads with motivational tactics they will see a significant productivity increase over a manager that demands results without any means of trying to motivate and drive a team towards the desired results. When leading a team, it is essential to tap into inspirational actions and language that drives these results. Showing loyalty and commitment to the team will, in turn, generate loyalty, commitment and motivation to the task at hand and the overall company drive – inspiring results while maintaining engagement.


3. Establish stretch goals

Setting next level stretch goals, that are communicated thoroughly and potentially set collaboratively will see teams driving to the next level of possibilities – achieving the results desired and then some on top of that. A team setting that goal together with their manager means that everyone is on the same page, open communication is happening from the get-go, work becomes fun, results are achieved and employees are engaged.


4. High Integrity and Inspiring Trust.

Often what team members seek is for their manager to ‘walk the walk’ – meaning, don’t ask them to do something they don’t feel they would be willing to do themselves should they need to. Having the team feel on the same level as a manager, yet trusting their guidance and integrity is everything. Losing trust will lose engagement – great managers that are results orientated yet engaged keep transparency at the forefront.


5. Commit to Developing Others

A trained and developed team makes for a productive and engaged team. Developing others creates an inspiring atmosphere, encourages collaboration on work and increases communication on each project. A manager that is committing the time to develop each team member in different ways increases results and exhibits great interpersonal skills.


6. Be Coachable Too

We know that managers need to coach others, however managers also need to be coachable. A manager’s ability to take on feedback sets an important example to their team. By encouraging feedback, embracing constructive criticism, exhibiting the things they have learned from feedback as a way of showing their team that it is a positive stepping stone rather than a criticism of their current work. This mutual respect will work towards the results the company needs.


Combining both a results-driven attitude while maintaining excellent communication and interpersonal skills makes a leader’s effectiveness incomparable. Integrating some of these traits into your daily business and team could be the ‘bridge’ you need to improve results.

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