Better Engage Your Team by Overcoming Unrealistic Targets

Better Engage Your Team by Overcoming Unrealistic Targets
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Better Engage Your Team by Overcoming Unrealistic Targets
Because of all the pressures to keep pace, team leaders and team members often find themselves grappling with the challenge of unrealistic targets that have been set for them. In some win at all costs organizational cultures, declining a request can have negative consequences.  To better engage your team when faced with unrealistic targets requires a blend of leadership vulnerability, trust, and practicality.

Actionable Strategies to Help Teams Overcome Unrealistic Targets
As a leader, you are responsible for the success of your team.  To mitigate the fallout while making sure that unreasonable targets don’t negatively impact the health or productivity of you or your team:

  1. Understand the Impact on Your Team
    It can be easy to overreact. Don’t.  start by gathering some data points.  Create a psychologically safe space for team members to honestly voice their concerns and fears without fear of judgment.

    As a leader, openly acknowledge the situation and its potential repercussions with your team. By sharing their own concerns and uncertainties, leaders demonstrate empathy and foster a culture of trust within the team. This transparency encourages team members to share their own perspectives and ideas, paving the way for collaborative problem-solving.

    By fostering open communication, leaders can gain valuable insights into the challenges their teams face and work collaboratively towards finding solutions.

    Are you clear about the true impact on your team?

  2. Understand the Impact on the Business
    It’s tempting to blame company leadership for creating insurmountable targets. But your team is counting on you to have their back and to help them make difficult decisions.  Before pushing back on targets that appear unattainable, ensure that you understand the context for why the targets were created, the assumptions behind them, and the consequences if the targets are not met.

    Make sure that you deeply understand where the pressures to perform are coming from so that you can chose a wise course of action for you and your team.  Otherwise, you may be blindsided by the fallout.

    Are you clear about what is behind the unrealistic expectations?

  3. Embrace Team Agility and Adaptability
    We know from leadership simulation assessment data that by promoting a mindset of “we’re in this together,” leaders can instill resilience and camaraderie within the team. Adaptability is key to thriving in dynamic and uncertain environments. Rather than balking at predetermined plans, leaders should empower their teams to adapt and pivot as needed.

    By fostering a culture of experimentation and learning, teams can uncover innovative solutions and navigate unforeseen obstacles with confidence. Embracing agility enables teams to stay nimble and responsive in the face of adversity, ultimately driving towards success.

    Is your team agile enough?

  4. Align Expectations
    Effective teamwork thrives on alignment and clarity. Effective leaders align team members’ expectations with organizational goals and objectives. When confronted with unrealistic targets, leaders must engage their teams, and company leadership, in a dialogue to redefine and clarify scope and expectations.

    By collectively revisiting goals and exploring alternative approaches, teams can gain a clearer understanding of what is achievable within the given constraints. This alignment ensures that everyone is working towards a common purpose, minimizing misunderstandings, and fostering a sense of unity.

    If however, alternative solutions cannot be found in a way that makes sense for the team, leaders must be ready to protect their team. Team members expect leaders to question unrealistic targets before accepting them on their behalf.  It is your job as a leader to ensure that all team targets are clear enough, believable enough, and implementable enough to succeed.

    Have you shared your concerns with the right people in the right way?

The Bottom Line
Effective leaders are keenly aware of the impact of unworkable targets on team dynamics.  Unrealistic targets can cast a shadow of doubt and frustration over a team, leading to decreased employee engagement and productivity. With the right leadership style, teams can overcome challenges and achieve success even in the most demanding of circumstances.

To learn more about how to better engage your team by overcoming unrealistic targets, download Leadership Performance Pressure – The Surprising Science Behind Performance Expectations

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