The ability to influence the leadership skills of your team members in order to meet organizational demands is a complex element of the overall leadership development picture. Leaders are tasked with effectively guiding organizational goal achievement, while considering team member skills necessary to produce the desired output.
A focus on balancing talent development with organizational goal achievement will place the company on a trajectory of achieving performance success. Motivating team members toward goal achievement is no small task. Essentially, leaders should reflect behaviors that inspire and motivate people to change.
Though motivation factors vary across an organization, there are many leadership qualities common to successful leaders. Leadership qualities that influence goal achievement include the ability to create a clear vision, the ability to understand organizational culture, the ability to focus on performance development, and the ability to encourage innovation.
Make the Vision Plan
Vision is the foundation that allows the organization to flourish for goal achievement. Awareness of the organizational vision provides a directional compass for each contributor within the organization to follow. Depending on the level of leadership, many leaders are not responsible for creating the vision for the company. They are responsible for:
- Articulating the vision
- Aligning team members to operational strategies
- Taking steps necessary to achieve company priorities linked to the vision
For example, leaders may engage team members in activities that correlate to fulfillment of revenue, growth, and organizational culture goals. Team members may brainstorm methods to improve the interaction between departments targeting improved organizational culture. This type of activity allows a team to focus on accomplishing departmental tasks that translate to the company goals and vision.
Understanding organizational culture is a critical skill for leaders to develop. Culture is inclusive of team members’ values, goals, attitudes, and assumptions. Each of these attributes plays a role in the ability of leaders to motivate individuals and teams to achieve the organization’s vision. The leader must know how to manage the factors that impact organizational culture in order to effectively support the needs of team members.
To build an organization of mutual respect and understanding, leaders must understand behavioral patterns that contribute to the desired culture. In this case, he or she will continue efforts that build unity within the organization. This may include contests and employee recognition programs.
Successful leaders must also be attentive to detractors who may threaten the ideal culture. To gain awareness of attitudes and assumptions that may jeopardize organizational performance, leaders may implement focus groups or surveys to identify what team members need to create an improved culture.
Establishing a welcoming environment where employees are free to engage with leaders fosters open communication with team members. This open communication allows for increased creativity and ingenuity.
Coach, Coach, Coach
Another consideration of leaders who motivate the workforce to achieve success is coaching and performance development. The leader should engage in observation and performance discussions that are critical to ensure that desired behaviors are demonstrated. Frequent performance assessment is a means of identifying what skills the team member demonstrates and those areas that require additional focus.
Leader coaching and development provides the framework for the team member to contribute to the company strategy and achievement of goals. For example, leaders may consider strategies relevant to the outcome of performance coaching. Strategies may include making decisions about the goal and how to accomplish them through the employee. The team member is an integral part of this discussion.
Allowing the team member to assess his or her own performance and identify areas of success and opportunity will yield maximum benefits. By engaging the team member in the performance development discussions, the coaching conversation becomes more robust.
In this instance, the leader is able to build an environment of trust and partnership. This partnership offers a framework for the team member to carry out the collective strategic vision.
The Life Source of Great Companies – Innovation
Next, organizations thrive when the presence of innovative behaviors exists. Leaders that support a ‘what box?’ philosophy create a place where ideas can flourish. This philosophy removes the boundaries of bureaucracy that limit productivity and invention.
Help team members remove barriers of creativity by implementing brainstorming or mind mapping to develop ideas to solve business problems. From personal experience, leading teams that develop ideas creates improved teamwork, professional growth, and the ability to network with others. It is a great way for individuals within the organization to manage projects or take another role within the organization to gain experience.
It is important to note that there are certain risks that are involved in the open innovation structure. Risk factors may include imbalance across the organization when employees do not adopt new ideas proposed by team members. Another risk factor involves barriers to communication. Both risks can quickly stifle progress.
Here’s What Leaders Can Do
- Communicate the rules of engagement and team member responsibilities to ensure open dialogue and exchange of ideas. This participatory approach will minimize the risks of innovation while maintaining progress and harmony in the workplace.
- Demonstrate awareness that the human quotient is the driving force behind organizational success. This is the stuff that leaders seek to build individual and collective performance. Such a move is necessary for companies seeking a return on investment from the cost of hiring the best talent!
One of the most important functions of leaders is to articulate the vision and create opportunities for team members to thrive. In doing so, leaders understand the organization’s heartbeat and determine effective methods to influence employees to perform at optimum levels goal achievement.
How Do Leaders Work Toward Goal Achievement?
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I completely agree with the communication factor being very important. Without it the work environment can be very frustrating. A leader must be able to listen as well as them being able to speak; they are both equally important. One without the other is not true communication. Thank you for the article.
The one component which leaders must address – and most don’t – is the human nature tendency of individuals to NOT follow up OR follow through with what they committed or were asked to do.
Most leaders who are running a team already have some idea as to which team members are superior; those who are average, and those who almost always need prodding, and they need to act accordingly so the team doesn’t suffer from the semi-laggards.
And ‘following through’ is superior to ‘following up’. Following through involves always looking for ways to go above and beyond what is asked and to WOW people with their follow up.
Great leaders recognize those who not only ‘follow up’ quickly, but they ‘celebrate’ those who ‘follow through’.
Bob Littell, Chief NetWeaver
NetWeaving is the ‘business’ version of Pay It Forward
I work with Henry Mintzberg at CoachingOurselves, with the foundation that “the best organizations are communities of human beings, not collections of human resources”. That said, Mintzberg believes that team’s should get together to reflect on and discuss their work experiences, in the light of conceptual ideas. So he created CoachingOurselves which provides ideas and perspectives from leading business thinkers to drive these 90 minute discussions and uncover what is really going on at a human level. Yes, I work for the company but this form of development is in the workplace and is true experiential learning that addresses business challenges. So leaders provide the space and environment for their team to truly communicate and build trust. Great stuff.