How many times have you been to enthusiasm training classes? You know the ones; they are supposed to inspire you to greater servitude through the development of enthusiasm for your job. Did you ever notice that executives forget that in order to convince and inspire employees—managers and front liners alike—they must be true believers in the goal themselves? How often have the executives forgotten that even when everyone doubts and/or questions the job, the amount of risk, or asks “is it worth it,” the guy or gal in charge must really believe in the greater goal?
If the executive isn’t a true believer in the goal, he or she won’t take the risks required to overcome the inevitable challenges and setbacks, and neither will anyone else. Lacking their own conscious belief, they will not be able to convince others—especially the front liners—to do more than they already do, even if they nod their heads during the presentation.
It is obligatory that senior
management take the time
to listen and explain to everyone
who has a question.
It really is the responsibility of the executive alone to believe in the goal of inspiring employees, and he or she must always manage with the knowledge that they are part of something greater than themselves and their own personal interests. They have to communicate this understanding through their managers and those in the trenches. Far more important than training, tools, or equipment, is a belief in the ultimate goal, which is critical for any organization to achieve the great results to which it aspires.
Have you ever been part of a project and seen the people in charge not in alignment with the project goals? In some cases, the executive himself must first align his own thoughts and vision to the goals of the company. Once an executive or middle manager is aligned with—and believes in—the acknowledged goal, that belief becomes apparent to those below and above in the management structure.
Actions and words reflect alignment with confidence and self-assuredness that just isn’t possible when belief is in doubt. The challenge comes when alignment with project goals isn’t explicitly clear. When the bosses’ confidence wanes, everyone sees it and begins to question their own beliefs surrounding the goal. You have heard it… “Hey, if even he doesn’t believe in getting it done, why should I?” That is poison to a project or goal.
Every leader has to be able to remove himself or herself from the immediate situation and acquire perspective and ensure that how and what is happening gels with the strategic plan or goal. When leaders receive an order that they don’t understand, they have the responsibility to ask the question: Why? Why are we being asked to do this? Those leaders owe it to themselves and those who follow their lead to take a step back, deconstruct/reconstruct the situation, analyze the strategic picture, and come to a workable conclusion. If they can’t come up with an acceptable answer themselves, they are responsible for asking questions up the line until they do understand. If middle managers and front liners understand the “why” they can move forward, fully believing in what they are doing. If a person has a good enough ‘why’, they can live with almost any, ‘how’.
Once an executive or middle
manager believes in
the acknowledged goal,
that belief becomes
apparent to those
below and above
in the management structure.
Likewise, it is obligatory that senior management take the time to listen and explain to everyone who has a question. Answer the questions of their middle and junior managers so that they, too, can understand why, believe in, and get into alignment with the goal. In many companies, the front liners rarely have as clear a view of the strategic picture as senior management thinks they do. It is frigging crucial that senior leaders convey a general understanding of that kind of strategic knowledge—the why—to their front liners. After all, it is the managers and front liners who figure out the ‘how’.
In any organization, goals have to be kept in alignment. If goals, like managers, aren’t aligned at some level, this issue has to be tackled and corrected. In business, no executive would knowingly propose a course of action that would purposely result in failure. But a subordinate may not understand a certain choice and, in turn, not believe in it. Not believing in the goal means they will consistently fail to give their best efforts. Junior executives and middle managers need to ask questions and provide feedback up the reporting chain so that executives can clearly understand the implications of how the strategic plans and goals affect execution of tasks on the front end.
In any organization, goals
have to be kept in alignment.
It falls on the manager to explain not just what to do, but why to do it. It is the responsibility of the junior executive or manager to reach out and ask if they don’t understand. Only when leaders at all levels understand and believe in the goals can they pass that understanding and belief to their front liners so that they can persist through trials, complete their jobs, thus doing their part to achieve success with the project.
And after all, aren’t we all supposed to be working together to achieve the goals?
SEE A LIFE COACH IN BATON ROUGE
Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative.