Monday, August 29, 2011

Leadership Evaluation - Setting Goals

On of my more popular entries is regarding Blue and Yellow Cards, and how the military effectively evaluates their young officers. I also mentioned during the blog that young officers are required to determine their goals and hand them to their supervisor at the beginning of each evaluation cycle. In point of the young officer was often given his/her boss's goals in advance so that the officer could set goals that support the mission of the unit. Sounds like a novel concept that might work?

This goes back to the principle of Communication. Thing about it, in any organization, how often is it that the middle managers and employees are kept in the dark about the true goals of their boss? When that happens, how often will everyone be pulling in the same direction? Will the group be effective? The answer to that for  the most part is almost always NO.

The DA-67-9-1 is the Officer Evaluation Support Form and is the required document previously mentioned. This form is yet another reason why the military does well at developing officers. Imagine an environment where your duties and responsibilities are spelled out for you at the beginning, and you help determine your own major performance objectives at the beginning of the cycle. This form is then shared with your boss for counseling and coaching in a one-on-one session. At the end of the cycle, you fill out the section on the significant contributions you've achieved. This form is again handed over to the boss, who uses it to help formulate his/her evaluation of the leader's performance. The final section involves the raters comments, a perfect opportunity for coaching.

John Maxwell constantly states that leaders need encouragement and guidance. If there aren't goals, how do you coach and encourage? It is a great concept, the problem (as almost always seems to be the case) is the execution.

Many people ignore the form completely. Others used it to set unattainable goals for their subordinates, thinking it would provide a valuable lesson, but instead only served to discourage the leader he/she was supposed to develop.

In the long run it is just a piece of paper. The concept is what's important. Sit with your leaders, develop goals and coach them through the process. The leaders will grow and perform beyond your expectations. Be fair to them, but be tough. Get you team to stretch beyond the comfortable and they will grow. Remember that this is a small (but important) part of the process of growing leaders. Communicate with them to set goals that move the organization closer to its' goals, and everybody wins

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