When an organisation has clear goals and objectives, it provides everyone with a better understanding of what they, as an individual, and as part of a team, are aiming to achieve. That’s why so often we see a focus on mission statements and functional plans that align with the overarching strategic objectives of an organisation. This all looks good on paper, however these goals are not reached in practice unless every member of the team performs as they are expected to do. Of course, each position will require their own set of objectives in order to fully understand the role they play. This is particularly true where leadership comes into play, as we rely on our leaders to be able to make things clear and guide others along the path to reaching these goals.
Goal setting set the leaders intentions
Goal setting is important because it is crucial to communicate to a team what the expected results should be and the time it will take to reach them. In other words, we are beginning with the end in mind, and that is the outcome. It is equally important to provide a roadmap for achieving those results and how that roadmap connects to the greater good of the team and the customers that your organisation serves. This is the important part that leaders play in goal setting and the reason why leadership development programs to support your senior managers need to spend equal time on clarity, capability and contribution. So often, the ‘clarity’ part is missed because we get straight into the detail of capability as a way to drive the contribution of individual team members.
Key considerations when setting leadership objectives
Here are a few things to consider when setting leadership objectives:
- Are your goals specific?
- How relevant are your smaller goals to your overall objectives?
- Do you have realistic expectations for achieving your goals?
- Are your goals challenging?
- Will you be able to achieve them within your chosen timeframe?
- Do the goals align to the greater good of the organisation and those you serve?
Responsibilities of Leaders
#1 Driving Focus
When working on a large scale project it can sometimes be very easy to lose sight of the bigger picture if for instance it’s a long-running project or we hit a speed bump. Having leaders who are able to return the team’s focus to the end result can reignite productivity and prevents energy from being wasted on aimless tasks. By focusing on particular objectives we can mobilise our energy, leading to higher and more consistent effort overall. Having defined goals should trigger our behaviour. When we are reminded (or remind ourselves) of our reasons for what we are doing, we become much more motivated to put in the work.
#2 Measure of Progress
By having set and specific objectives we are trying to reach, it is possible to monitor the progress being made. This creates accountability when we might be falling short and motivation to continue when we can see how far we have come. A portion of the Dare to Lead™ Leadership Development Program offered by The Leadership Sphere includes a focus on participants creating and building a new habit. Through regular check-ins they are encouraged measure their own progress in implementing the habit they’ve chosen for themselves. A big part of leadership at the individual, team, or organisational level is having the capacity to deliver, in other words, to do the things that need to be done, even when you may not feel like doing them. Habits aid in getting people to deliver.
#3 Improved Communication
We’ve touched on the importance of clarity when it comes to setting leadership objectives; now let’s look at it a little more closely. We cannot gain clarity and understanding of team goals without effective communication. If our objectives aren’t clearly defined and communicated with us, we run the risk of misinterpreting what was said. This could easily lead to mistakes being made that cost us valuable time, effort and, resources if we have to redo tasks. It would also mean that it’s going to take us longer to achieve our goals which would potentially drive our motivation to complete them down. When we take the time to be as direct and focused as possible, this risk is lessened. By defining what our collective goals are with each other, we open the door for continued communication and collaboration to achieve them.
Setting leadership objectives is no easy feat and ultimately they can be quite subjective. Despite this, it should be important to all organisations and their leaders that their goals are made clear to everyone involved. Without this clarity it can be difficult to determine the progress of our success or give it the focus it deserves.
For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can support your leaders with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website at https://theleadershipsphere.com.au/ or call us on 1300 100 857.