Do you set your goals to push your people to extreme targets to ensure you get performance or do you set realistic goals to inspire solid execution and inspire extra effort to hit the stretch?
I have heard both views represented with great passion over the years and experienced both methods from my bosses too. Both have driven results for teams and organizations including myself. However, it is the second one that I believe is more sustainable for organizations because of the effect on the people that do the work.
People want to be part of a mission bigger than themselves and part of
a winning team. Anyone can do the sprint to make things happen for the short term and they do. However, if the goals are always lofty, they lose their significance and actually backfire on you as a leader and your credibility. Initially you appear to be a driver that wants results and in the end you will appear to be a leader that is out of touch with reality. People will actually do less. I have seen it happen. In the end, it doesn’t bring the winning spirit. It is individual ownership or trust that propels growth.
The more difficult and prudent approach is to set realistic targets with stretch goals that you believe “someone” can achieve. This establishes the markers for success and also establishes markers for excellence. Your hard chargers will find a way to make the stretch goals and that will inspire others to follow them. That will raise the performance for everyone. The celebration that follows creates more mojo to continue the momentum.
What approaches have you experienced or adapted as your leadership marker? I look forward to hearing from you