Where did we go Wrong? Type and Goal-Setting A major responsibility associated with leadership is to create and disseminate objectives and goals amongst individuals and departments alike. Sounds easy right? Well, much to their dismay, leaders can often find that the same goal, communicated to a whole group of contributors, can actually send individuals and groups going in opposite directions: not only to one another, but to the goal the leader originally had in mind. The Result? Frustrated, stressed or conflicted individuals and a product or service that is either incomplete, or no longer viable. The challenge a leader faces when they are goal-setting is to get everyone moving in the same direction. However, we know various individuals have different ways of seeing, interpreting and processing the same message. When communicated goals reflect only the leader’s natural communication style, and do not incorporate – or accommodate – various preferences and needs, the message is lost. Thus, if they wish to motivate others appropriately around a shared mental model, a leader must anticipate their followers’ needs and modify their own behaviour and style accordingly. Therefore, an understanding of preferences can help, even in the absence of knowing the type of every follower! In their book “Type Talk at Work”, Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen provide what they call a “Goal-Setting Checklist” to help leaders provide guidance more effectively to their followers: Did everyone get a chance to speak about the topic? (E) Has there been ample time to reflect on goals? (I) Are the objectives realistic? (S) Do the goals allow for future expansion? (N) Are the goals consistent with the organizational outcomes and deliverables? (T) Will everyone in the organization commit? (F) Is there a plan to monitor progress toward goal attainment? (J) Do the goals allow for emergencies and the unexpected? (P) By incorporating these into a message, leaders can maximize the chance that they will be giving their listeners what they need to move forward, to implement solutions, to attain the goal. Remember that the meaning of a message lies not in the intention of the sender but in the perception of the receiver. If you learn how to connect with your listener on their level rather than your own, your goal remains clear and success becomes more likely. References: Type Talk at Work. Kroeger, O & Thuesen, J. M. Dell Publishing, 1992.