Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Leadership by Design

Few people are actually born to leadership. Most people have to learn how to become good leaders. One important aspect of good leadership is knowing where you want to lead others. This involves careful consideration beforehand.

Begin with the End in Mind

Having a plan means that you know what the end result should look like. This can apply to your work environment, the culture, or what you expect from your employees. By having a clear idea of what you want from your employees and what you want from yourself, you put yourself in a better position to plan how to meet your goals. 

Setting Goals

In addition to company-wide goals, each leader of a team should have specific goals for their team that complement the company’s goals. These goals can inform how you make policy and what kind of team culture you foster. If you have ever been involved in meetings or team-building exercises that have seemed to be fun but ultimately turn out to be pointless or a waste of time, you can understand the need to have clear goals. Then, activities such as meetings, exercises, or other activities assume a greater importance. In order to be effective at setting and reaching goals, it is helpful to use the SMART acronym:

  • Specific. When you establish specific goals for your team rather than general goals, you are far more likely to follow through.
  • Measurable. One of the reasons for making a goal specific is so you can measure what the successful completion of that goal looks like -- an important aspect of beginning with the end in mind.
  • Achievable. If a goal is too easy or too difficult, it can also be easy to justify giving up on it. Make sure you set goals for your team that are challenging but achievable.
  • Realistic. While being ambitious can help you to achieve lofty goals, being too ambitious can often lead to rebellion, both in your team and in yourself.
  • Time-bound. When you decide to set a goal, you must also decide on when you expect your team to achieve that goal. You must be specific. This allows you to organize your goal-achieving behavior with a deadline.

In addition to being SMART about goal setting, there are other steps that you can take to help you remain committed to achieving your goals.

Tell someone else about your goal. This will help to keep you accountable and committed.

When appropriate, divide your team goals into smaller milestones. When you collectively reach a milestone, reward your team. Small rewards can help your team to stay enthusiastic.

If your team fails to meet a milestone, don’t be too harsh or give up. Instead, determine where and how you and the team went wrong and how to do better going forward.

Perhaps the single most important step is to choose a goal that is meaningful to you, your team, and the organization.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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