Are My Team’s Goals Set Too High?
We all want to set goals for staff and teams that will stretch them to deliver more, faster and to a higher quality standard BUT what if in setting those targets they are too aspirational and leave staff feeling demotivated because they simply cannot give you what you want?
Are the goals set working against your drive for improvement and development?
Do your staff feel that whatever they do it will not be good enough?
We all have high standards but setting them just too high leads to unintended consequences which undermine much of what we want to achieve. When employees can never reach that level of expectation and performance those high standards become weapons, leaving bitterness and unmotivated staff starting to resent what is going on.
Being too focused on perfection and having a maximum achievement focus can leave all concerned unhappy and demotivated.
Time to look objectively at your management style and critically assess where exactly you are.
- Are disappointed in yourself? This drive for perfection can turn inward and challenge the work that you have produced in such a way that you are inherently disappointed in what is going on. This will twist and distort your own self-perception and drive you further towards performance at all costs!
- Have you lost your confidence in what your staff can deliver? Are your standards causing a loss of confidence in your staff which then dents your opinion and assessment of their capabilities. Staff losing confidence will second-guess issues rather than come and ask you directly for advice and guidance, eventually choosing to do nothing and then just taking your criticism when it arrives.
- Resilience of the individual and the team: there is no “bouncing back” from difficult times or when things go wrong. If you are constantly disappointed in what is being delivered this will drain the energy and enthusiasm of the staff around you and resilience will fall. rather than just take direct criticism and
So, what can you do in a very practical sense to resolve this problem?
- Understand and use your discontent to a good end: being dissatisfied can be a good management tool if used correctly and carefully. Pushing and stretching staff is part of your job and closes the gap between actual performance and desired performance. Your positional power means that discontent will be a powerful motivator IF used sparingly.
- Tell your staff regularly that they are important and fully understand what each of them is capable of achieving and delivering, plus what they could be delivering. Be very clear in delivering positive and evaluative feedback at all times.
- Critically assess how you go about setting standards: occasionally we do not tell staff about our high standards until they have failed to deliver. Are you actually being totally realistic in what you are asking for? Are you fully honest with yourself about the starting point for the standards you want from the staff? Make sure what you are seeking from staff is both fair and realistic.
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