Even the best company team or staff will fail if the goals set for them are unattainable or unrealistic. It is up to business leaders to develop practical, achievable goals for their companies, teams, departments and staff. Great leaders are like ship captains steering their teams across the turbulent waters of mediocrity to the isle of success. In order to reach the pinnacle, goals must be set to help achieve the company's vision and mission. Leaders develop both personal and team goals in order to coach their teams to higher revenues, increased production and decreased turnover.
Setting Team Goals
In an April 2013 "Forbes” article, writer Kevin Kruse defines leadership as “a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, toward the achievement of a goal.” Kruse goes on to differentiate managers from leaders by stating that managers handle the details, whereas leaders provide the vision and the goals. Toward that end, leaders need to set goals that are aligned with company values while propelling the company forward. Team and department goals should be SMART, or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. Where setting a goal of increasing production is vague, setting a goal of "An 20 percent increase in widget production by the 3rd quarter" meets the criteria of a SMART goal. This type of goal makes it easier for employees to understand and achieve the desired outcome.
Personal Leadership Goals
The well-rounded leader sets personal goals for themselves as well; One goal may be to ensure that the company's vision is instilled in each and every employee. When employees are not indoctrinated in the company’s focus and vision, the company may go astray if leadership changes. A successful leader ensures that the company can continue on the same track if he were to depart. Leaders must continually hone their skills as well; Read books, take classes and attend leadership workshops. A leader's goals should be be both influential and knowledgeable, while staying abreast of company policies and trends.
Things to Consider
Often when setting goals leaders neglect obtaining the support required to make the goal attainable. In the example of increasing widget production, if everything remains status quo and no additional resources or planning are acquired, the goal will likely never be realized. Planning is key to setting goals and achieving them. Some leaders also run into the problem of setting too many goals. Without clear prioritization, employees become overloaded and start selecting which goals they want to work on. To avoid this, leaders need to focus on big-picture goals and set them accordingly.
Achieving the Ultimate Goal of Leadership
Merely influencing people doesn’t automatically inspire leadership in others, employees need to be motivated by example. Leadership demands a high standard of personal accountability in order to inspire results in others. Motivation is key, as is "walking the walk":. A good leader doesn’t simply motivate someone to do their job through words, but through concise and deliberate self-demonstrated actions which in turn inspire others to deliver their best in order to accomplish SMART goals.
Adele Burney started her writing career in 2009 when she was a featured writer in "Membership Matters," the magazine for Junior League. She is a finance manager who brings more than 10 years of accounting and finance experience to her online articles. Burney has a degree in organizational communications and a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College.