The two most important responsibilities of a manager are to work towards achieving specific goals and creating significant relationships with subordinates. Attaining goals without creating and maintaining healthy relationships with employees is unsustainable because in the end employees might experience burnout. In fact, attaining goals as a manager requires task accomplishment through the skills of others hence the need to build lasting relationships. However, too much focus on building these relationships might easily cause one to lose sight of the original goals.
How to attain goals by maintaining an enthusiastic following
According to an article published by Acas.org.uk (2011, p. 6), managers should consider three factors: a clear strategy in establishing goals, and defining ways to attain them and understanding the context and placing each employee in the strategic places where they will work optimally. The third factor is related to the concept of voice, which allows employees to speak up and share their opinions. These three steps show a strong correlation between goal attaining and building relationships. Acas argument is that establishing goals precedes building relationship with equal influence. When a healthy relationship is centered on the roles, the employee can perform to help achieve stipulated goals.
While seeking to strengthen relationships, Covey Stephen suggests that managers need to build trust in the workplace (n.d., p. 1). When a manager trusts his subordinates, they can easily assign tasks, and when employees trust their manager, they will not feel as if they are being misused or underused. Besides, managers will not have an overbearing presence in the sight of their subordinates. Mutjaba and colleagues (2013, p. 144) introduced the idea of cultural accommodation. At times, managers are forced to work with people representing diverse cultures. In such a scenario, building relationships may not be that easy, diminishing the effectiveness in attaining goals. Different cultures have different approaches to achieving their goals. Besides, misunderstandings are likely to occur in the workplace (Zhang, Wang, and Shi, 2012, pp. 114). Therefore, managers need to acquaint themselves with other people’s cultures to use the right approaches when assigning duties/tasks.
While seeking to build trust and achieve cultural accommodation, Blanchard Institute (2016) argues that four essential skills; listening, inquiring, truthfulness and confidence, are also necessary. They are crucial in eliminating conflicts that may depress relationships between managers and their subordinates. For instance, inquiring is useful when a manager needs to measure the progress of stipulated goals and assigned tasks. This contrasts prior assumptions or seeking information from other sources that may not be reliable. Blanchard Institute also suggests “four core conversations: Goal Setting, Praising, Redirecting and Wrapping Up.” When tasks assigned to employees are completed as expected, managers need to praise and appreciate them to increase their enthusiasm to perform better. In contrasts, wrapping up means going through the work submitted to ensure it is of good quality. These four conversations should be sequential in managerial interactions (Blanchard Institute 2016, p.2).
Implications of Emphasis on one role
The two roles are instrumental in achieving success. The two are clearly inseparable and emphasizing on one while ignoring the other might have serious implications. It is mandatory for managers to balance the two to avoid chaos at the workplace. Ethical behavior is one of the most fundamental aspects of any company. Freeman and Stewart (2006, p. 4-5), describe ethical leadership as viewing subordinates as stakeholders contributing greatly to the company success. Setting goals without considering ethics lead to unhealthy non-professional relations (Lambert et al. 2012, p. 916) which in turn lead to unethical treatment of other stakeholders thus damaging the company’s image.
The transformational leadership theory holds that Goals are attained by establishing structures that dictate the manner of relations between stakeholders. Structures also ensure that lines are not crossed, and the expectations are fulfilled (Benjamin and O’Reilly 2011, p. 454). Structures should not be too rigid or excessively flexible. The former infers an overemphasis on goal attainment while the latter means overemphasis on relationships. The value of transactional is evident as it proofs that rigid structures overlook the importance of employees and their opinions thus killing their drive to steer the company to success. The adoption of this model shows that positive relations influence employees success because of the motivation associated with flexibility. However, excessively flexible structures may lead to unprofessionalism and inability to achieve goals within stipulated timelines.
Acas.go.uk. 2011. The People Factor – engage your employee; for business success, Acas.go.uk. 4-23. Available from:
Benjamin B. and O’Reilly. C. 2011. Becoming a leader: early career challenges faced by MBA graduates. Academy of Management Learning & Education, Vol. 10, No. 3, 452–472.
Blanchard Institute. 2016. “Essential skills every first-time manager should master” The Ken Blanchard Company p. 1-10.
Covey S. n.d. Building Trust In the Workplace.
Freeman, R. E and Stewart F. L. 2006. Developing Ethical Leadership. Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics pp. 2-13.
Lambert, L. et al. 2012. Forgotten but not gone: An examination of fit between leader consideration and initiating structure needed and received. Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. 97, no. 5, pp. 913-930.
Mutjaba B. G. et al. 2013. Task and relationship orientation of Chinese students and managers in the automotive industry. Journal of Technology Management in China, vol. 8 no. 3, pp. 142-154.
Zhang, Z., Wang M. and Shi J. 2012. Leader-follower congruence in proactive personality and work outcomes: the mediating role of leader-member exchange. Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 55, No. 1, pp. 111–130.