No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Your Team Doesn't Want What You Want

If you haven't already figured it out, I'm going to let you in on a little leadership secret: Your team doesn't share your goals.

That's different than saying your team is against your goals, or won't work toward your goals, or doesn't have goals. In fact, that's the land-mine for leaders - every member on your team has individual goals. You will succeed to the extent that you can align their goals with your personal and organizational goals.

So you need to ask, why is this team member here? What is he or she after? Maybe she needs a paycheck, but her passion is really her home and family. Maybe he's learning a skill so he can start his own business someday. Maybe he wants your job. If you don't know, chances are you won't motivate.

Because there are some goals we all have sometimes that inhibit performance, like the desire to have the day go smoothly or to get out on time. The desire to avoid conflict and to evade crises. To overcome those human tendencies we have to be able to tap back into what drives our people. And they aren't driven by numbers on the quarterly P&L statement, or a desire to see you in a corner office.

Besides, they wouldn't be worth much if they didn't have some aspirations of their own. We all know some people who drift through life without goals; they don't accomplish much.

So stop looking at your people through the lens of your own values and goals. Get to know them, and find out what the job really means to them. Then you can get the behaviors you want by giving them the outcomes they will value.

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