Exceptional bosses know how to motivate people tapping into their intrinsic motivation. They set goals that empower people and builds confidence. Big audacious goals can initially sound great, but can backfire when people fail to achieve milestones resulting in a de-motivated workforce.
As a boss who strives to do great work, you may need to adjust your thinking about goal setting. Small wins over time can add up to tremendous success. Sometimes less is more.
Stanford University management professor Robert I. Sutton, PhD, author of the New York Times bestseller The No Asshole Rule, knows about bosses. He has received thousands of emails about the bad ones since the 2007 publication of that title. In his most recent book, Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best...and Learn from the Worst (Business Plus, 2010) Sutton focuses on what it takes to be a better boss.
If you set big goals to energize and direct people, you can fall into the trap of overwhelming and discouraging them. The path to success is lined with small wins. Framing goals as a series of small steps helps people see the importance of their participation.
Smaller goals also help people make better decisions, sustain motivation and manage stress. When subordinates experience a challenge as too big or complex, they can freeze up. When problems are broken down into bite-sized pieces, a boss inspires clarity, calmness and confidence.
The Questions to Ask Yourself
1. Small Wins
a. Do you frame what your people need to do as a series of small, realistic and clear steps?
b. Do you propose grand goals?
c. Do you break things down into bite-sized steps?
Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching to help leaders set goals that instill confidence and motivates people? Leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to fully engage employees and customers.
One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do I set smaller goals that helps people make better decisions, sustains motivation and manage stress?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching for collaborative leaders who know how to establish appropriate goals when working with people.