Quite often, a significant difference between genuinely effective leaders and the rest of the pack is that they are not willing to settle for less than their best. It is challenging to define because there are so many variables involved, as well as a large degree of subjectivity. But one thing is for certain – they set lofty yet realistic goals for themselves and their team.
Perhaps you too want to devote some time to thinking about setting 2018’s goals and learn how to use them to increase performance and improve engagement.
Here are six tips that could help you do that.
Understand the psychology behind setting milestones
Most people start the task of setting goals because they are instructed to do so, either by their boss or by the culture surrounding them. They do not take time to think about what that means psychologically.
In contrast, great leaders carefully analyse the psychological aspects that play a role in actions and results. For example, they understand why certain phrases during a project have a particular effect on the project members of the reason why emails that are personalised resonate well with prospects.
By knowing the importance of goals, it can help you establish more effective milestones. Goal-setting changes the chemistry of our brains, and studies have shown that that setting incremental goals can improve motivation and boost your achievement levels by approximately 30 percent. As the very act of creating goals has such a strong effect on our brains’ activities, it’s crucial to take on the process earnestly and stick to your decisions.
Identifying strengths and weaknesses
Great leaders understand the different strengths and weaknesses of their team members and develop a roadmap to achieve team goals. For example, your team is given the task of improving customer relationships. If you understand that it is very similar to managing personal relationships; you can identify the team members who are strong in this area in order to enhance the goal-achieving strategy.
Achieving most team goals are no different. It boils down to identifying the talents of each individual and utilising them accordingly in their areas of expertise allowing the team as a whole to achieve goals with ease.
Encourage honest feedback
Even if you put a lot of thought and effort into your objectives, they’re never going to be perfect. And even when you get them mostly right, they will still need to change from time to time. That’s why you need to have frequent feedback meetings with other team members who have a stake in the goal-setting process. The purpose of these meetings is to encourage productive criticism, as well as to celebrate achievements. Your team will most likely have many thoughts about the goals that they're expected to meet.
In the meantime, to monitor your own goals, schedule a feedback session with a mentor or senior colleague who can help you take stock of the effectiveness of your own personal effort.
Focus on what you and your team can control
When we constantly hear about creating goals that are “actionable”, we usually think of the concept in abstract terms. Instead, leaders should impart a method that delivers “action-oriented” goals, and let the rest follow from there. No matter how hard you try, you can’t control external factors such as the market or the economy. What you can control are the actions that typically encourage higher productivity. This will help you and your team internalise the notion that you are directly responsible for achieving your desired results.
Give your team mates some autonomy with their goal-tracking
We all recognise that taking the time to create goals is impractical unless you can invest the energy in tracking the progress of those goals. For some leaders, this means being in control of tracking software or linking up with team members to discuss results at set intervals. Many times, team members aren’t even aware of their progress until they are being told about their results. Instead, try giving your team members the responsibility of tracking their own goals and achievements, and sending the results to you at specified times. This will help them feel more invested in the process, and high-achievers will be incentivised to perform and share their progress.
Recognizing failure is part of the process
An unavoidable part of maintaining an effective system for creating goals is knowing that at the end of the day, not every goal can be met. Failure is an important part of life, both personally and professionally, but it’s essential not to let these setbacks ruin your strategy. Instead, you should use them as a chance to learn how you can adjust your game plan in the future. Were your goals too ambitious? Is there some feature of your time-management process that could be altered so that you can increase your performance? Take some time to implement a precise plan-of-action for the next time you and your team fall short of a goal, including evaluation, analysis and future steps.