Leadership Skills (1ofX) - Goal Setting

11 Jan

In most companies, when you ask people what they do, what are their responsibilities and then ask the same question to their managers, you get two different answers.  In such situations, employees can place themselves in a delicate situation that they have not done something that they even do not suspect is their duty.  To avoid and prevent this ridiculous situation the authors of the best seller "The One-Minute Manager" - PhD Kenneth Blanchard and MD Spencer Johnson - recommended the following goal setting model:
leadership skills, goal setting
1. Setting and explaining the objectives

The leader must personally set and explain the task.  This obligation, he should not delegate to another person.  It is necessary to agree on targets for maximum contractors' involvement.

2. The goal is recorded in duplicated lists or e-mailed, by no more than 200 words

Why duplicated?  Manager - leader must not make the mistake to keep the objectives locked in his office or laptop.  The task description should be accessible to all subordinates 24 hours a day.  So both parties can periodically check the progress.  It is recommended to describe the goal in 200 words or less so that it can be read quickly and to keep us focused on the greater purpose, not on the details.


3. Discuss the proper approach to the goal

Except in cases the manager knows the employee and strongly believes in the latter proper approach, he should require him to designate the course of action.  If the modus operandi is correct, the leader should praise the employee.  If it is wrong - the leader should ask questions like: "What will be the result if you do ...?" It is needed to give the subordinate several options to find the weaknesses in his course of action.  In any event, the leader should not criticize the employee! But he must openly and objectively evaluate the proposals: "this is good", "this proposal is weak".  The aim of the leader in such situations is twofold: to ensure that the work will be done the right way and help the growth of the employee by teaching him how to independently assess his own ideas.  Good employees with potential, after two similar lessons learn to raise the proper questions themselves: "What results do I get if I do ...?","Does this result approximate me to the goal achievement?"


4. Re-read the goal description daily to assess whether the behavior corresponds to the objective

In today's business world everyone has multiple objectives.  The business leader focus must be on 20% of the goals which provide 80% of the key results (according to The Pareto Principle).  The manager should control the number of objectives never to overburden the subordinate, but also never to leave the employee unengaged.  This balance is very important for the long-term prosperity.

leadership skills, goal settingSuccessful goal setting

The goal is a key process in managerial activity.  If successful, it creates a common direction for both managers and employees.  Selecting the right objectives is the responsibility of the business leader.  It is his obligation to clarify those goals to his subordinates.  This clarification is a communication process that is widely underestimated.  The majority of managers do not look for feedbacks, practically they do not care whether the goals we understood and shared.  Thus, by showing no interest in the outcome of the communication process, the managers unwittingly start building wall between them and the team.  And really, what can the best employees do if they do not understand and share the purpose?  They can be disciplined and cooperative, but will not be committed or they can be committed, but to objectives which they consider correct and proper (in the particular case their objectives might match the company ones)...  And it is every leader wish his subordinates to be devoted to the company goals.  Employees who put their heart and mind in work to achieve greater results, set positive example, inspire followers, and make the job alive.

From my personal experience I can share that the goal setting model described above:

  •  Provides additional clarity and order in the relations subordinate-manager
  •  Shifts the focus to the goal rather than human relations and
  •  Very important - assists the growth of high potential employees.

I highly recommend you to start using it for the next 2 months, even only for your personal goals, thus you will get convinced of its usefulness and effectiveness.


In the next post we will read about the constructive remprimand.

In order to avoid repetition - manager and leader were used as fully interchangeable synonyms.


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