I recently asked a friend about his new job. He has about three months under his belt, and I was curious how it was going.
“Good—I think…I recently got a bonus, but…”
“That’s great, but you sound a little uncertain…?”
“Yes, well, I don’t know exactly what they want me to do. I must be doing okay, since I got the bonus, but I’m not sure what the goal is for the job. I’m not really sure what they want from me”
Leaders—this is a good, smart, motivated person who wants to do a stellar job. But, how can he when he does not know what you want??
When people want to do a good job but they aren’t sure what that looks like or how their work is being measured, they quickly get discouraged and unmotivated. It is a major ingredient in the recipe for stress, burnout, and turnover.
Have you taken the time to talk with each member of your team about what the goals of their position are and what success looks like?
Have your worked together to develop measurable targets for the outcomes that you are seeking?
Have you taken the time to help them understand how their activities and goals fit into the bigger picture of the entire team, and then within the goals of the entire organization?
Have you had this conversation with the entire team, so everyone knows and understands where they all fit into the larger puzzle of the organization and its goals?
We all know that people want to have a meaningful job. This is how to make that happen. While it might not be saving the world, knowing the context of the job and how it fits into the larger picture of the organization’s goals gives the work meaning and a reason for being.
Once you have this conversation and each of you knows the outcomes you are seeking, it is so much easier to follow up with them, ask them how things are going, and ask of they need any help from you. It is easier for them to come to you with those problems that are getting in the way of them hitting their measureable targets.
The challenge for you, as the leader, is to be crystal clear about each position you supervise. You need to be able to actually explain what you want from each person and how it all fits together as a whole. This is a key piece of being a vision-centered leader.