What are the barriers to doing this?
Early in my career I had a leader emphatically state that most people just want to do their job and go home with the least amount of effort. While I agree that human nature is inclined to do what we WANT to do rather than what we NEED to do, the belief that members of the workforce want only the “easy” way out may translate into leadership behaviors that can pose a barrier to promoting mastery. If you think your staff doesn’t want a challenge, you don’t create challenges for them. If you don’t believe they care about achieving the goals, you may stop asking their opinions or ideas on how to improve.
Why is this important to do anyway?
Another primary need that every human has inside of them at some level is the need for mastery. Mastery is described as our desire to overcome a challenge, and in doing so find meaning or purpose in the work we do every day. It is not a leader’s responsibility, nor is it practical, to light every employee’s flame every single day. A leader’s job is to create an environment and support a set of circumstances that creates the tension for challenge and potential for achievement.
How can you do it?
- Set clear goals and expectations. People you serve need to see the challenges ahead clearly if you want them to have a chance to overcome them. Our job as leaders is to make clear what outcome the team is striving for, why it is important and when the team needs to achieve the outcome. This provides the path, or opportunity to achieve a meaningful outcome.
- Create an optimal challenge. Hard, “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” (BHAGs) are great to fire up those you work with who live for an underdog challenge, but no one wants to feel hopeless. A leader’s job is to strike a balance between challenging and over-the-top hard. Break the bigger goal into smaller goals that have a possibility of being achieved in the circumstances.
- Give consistent feedback. Are we there yet? While the need for mastery is met by achieving a goal, no one wants to feel lost along the way. Leaders need to give regular feedback on your team’s performance toward the goal, reminding them of “why” the goal is important (the light at the end of the tunnel) to help get them through the challenging path toward achievement.
Question? What are some strategies you use to give consistent feedback about goal achievement to those you serve?
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