“Employees want to constantly be better at what they do. If not challenged, they will look for challenges elsewhere.” –Ilya Pozin
As a leader, you have a job to do: lead people (sounds simple enough, right?). Where you lead them requires vision. Knowing your destination makes it possible for you to challenge them in a “directionally appropriate” manner.
While the concept of “vision” may seem quite nebulous, it is actually a skill that can (and should) be acquired. Vision is the ability to see ahead to the future of your organization. It is your set of goals that shapes who you are down the road. It gives purpose to everyday work. It is the carrot dangling from the stick for motivated visionaries.
Vision and goals go hand in hand. A vision without goals is like taking a trip to a foreign land without a map. Goals without vision is like following the map with no destination. You might achieve one without the other, but it won’t be pretty and it will take a lot longer. And the other people in the car might start to question your judgment.
The people in the metaphorical car are the people you’re leading in real life. In order to challenge them in the way that meets their needs, you must be prepared to engage them in the vision and goals of your project. Let them know the “why” behind your challenges, and help them see (and celebrate) the full meaning of their successes.
Otherwise, they might hop out of the car at the next stop and take the bus.
Don’t let them take the bus. Let them help you map the route.
(Coming next week….a follow up post on SMART goals.)