It’s a popular belief that nothing is accomplished without goals. Yet goals – even S.M.A.R.T. ones – frequently miss the mark. Pushing for goals without knowing how they align with your mission and purpose can zap creativity and lead to burnout.
The process for creating and communicating goals needs a reboot. Here are some strategies to help you light up your team, and inspire every individual to bring their best.
Get lit up yourself.
No, I’m not talking about drinking at the office! But to inspire others, you must first be inspired.
Start with an inner dialogue. Explore for yourself the value of the goal, the problem it solves, or the new opportunity created. If you’re uninspired, troubleshoot where this goal may be missing the mark. Revise or renegotiate the terms. If you’re confident and excited about what’s possible, your team will sense this and be more likely to feel inspired and energized, too!
Know what motivates individual team members.
Take the time to engage team members individually and present goals in ways that align with what matters to them. What are their values? What part of your mission most resonates with them? Do they care about getting the win or exceeding clients’ expectations? If they’re looking to grow, give them a stretch assignment. In short, know your employees and communicate goals in ways that align with what matters to them.
The following questions can help:
- What is the value to your team and organization if the goals are met?
- How should the goal be defined so that it aligns directly with the overarching objectives of your team and organization?
- How can you negotiate with management to adjust or redefine goals to get your team more excited?
- How could these goals be hindering your team from achieving their potential?
- Where are you seeing signs of angst and overwhelm, inefficiencies, and conflict?
- What do you need to know about your team members to best energize them to reach these goals?
Consider how you want to feel.
If you ignore how you want to feel at work, your work will have less meaning and bring little joy. Most goals have everything to do with how we want to feel and little to do with the thing we’re accomplishing. Whenever possible, tie goals to core desires like feeling connected, prosperous, or creative, and see how much zeal you bring into your life and work. When you’re feeling resistance to a work or personal project that has no appeal but just needs to get done, focus on how you’ll feel on the other end of it. This focus in attitude can get you moving. Emotions inspire, efforting does not.