How setting goals creates happy workers

 By Maynard Brusman

Are you working in an organization where managers help employees develop goals to be more productive? Do employees at your workplace believe that company-developed goals help them become more productive?
 
I coach a number of managers on how best to do goal-setting. Emotionally intelligent managers increase worker productivity by helping their people develop goals resulting in improved workplace performance.
 
Myth: Tell employees to do their best, and let them find their own path.
 
A mountain of evidence shows us that people perform best when they’re given goals:
  • Specific goals increase performance.
  • Difficult goals, when accepted, result in higher performance.
  • Feedback leads to higher performance.
 
When you give an assignment with instructions to “do your best,” you aren’t providing enough specificity. Employees perform better when they know what needs to be done, the outcomes you seek, and how much effort they’ll need to expend to achieve results.
 
The Real Truth: A large percentage of employees believe they lack specific goals at work. Clear, challenging goals, accompanied by feedback, set the stage for higher output.
 
Myth: People want to set their own goals.
 
In spite of the logic behind participatory management, there’s little evidence to show that goals set in partnership, between employee and manager, are superior to those unilaterally assigned by the boss.
 
Why wouldn’t people do better with goals they help set? The explanation may lie in the reality of workplace conditions. For participation to work:
  • There must be adequate time to give input.
  • Issues must be relevant to employees’ interests.
  • Employees must have adequate knowledge and skills to share their insights.
  • The workplace culture must support employee involvement.
 
These conditions are sorely lacking in many workplaces, despite management’s best intentions. In addition, some people don’t want the responsibilities that come with participation. They prefer to be told what to do and let the boss do the worrying.
 
The Real Truth: Participation is no sure means for improving employee performance.
 
Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to help employees be more productive? Does your organization provide executive coaching to help leaders improve performance by developing specific goals? Enlightened leaders need to improve their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills.
 
One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “How can I set specific and difficult goals that increase worker performance and productivity?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching for leaders to improve their ability at setting goals.
 
Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you create a more productive workplace where employees achieve difficult goals and are happy.
 
You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission, and strategy of your company or law firm.
 
About the author:
Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development. He can be reached at mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call (415) 546-1252.
 
Reprinted with permission from HR.com.
 
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