On Setting Leadership GoalsThink about a time when you may have interviewed for a job or perhaps you met someone on a date or joined a new social group or club. These people you met all have one thing in common—they want to get to know you as a person and, as polite and respectful as they may be in doing so, they have a vested interest in assessing your values, principles, and goals. They may ask you directly or indirectly about your experiences and your accomplishments but they are really interested in what makes you a unique individual.Thinking about these concepts, which can seem confusing and overlapping, provides you with a significant benefit as a leader in an organization. To be genuine, effective, and authentic, you need to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses as a leader and follower—and you need to know how your personality relates to your values and principles. You will be even more effective as a leader if you are able to articulate your values and principles and discern the relationship among them. Some experts on leadership have proposed that creating a logical map of these personal characteristics will make you a better leader. In Part 2 of your Assessment, you will begin to create that map where you will:Examine your values.Examine your principles, which originate from your values.Identify some of your core leadership-oriented goals, which stem from your principles, in light of your leadership strengths and weaknesses. Each element is discussed in greater detail below.ValuesWhat are values? Values are core beliefs that are of fundamental importance to you. For example, you might value complete honesty in business dealings. Values are what you hold dear; they drive your decisions and define your persona. How do you identify your values?To help you identify values, consider some probing questions to help you in the process:What do you stand for? Why is this important to you?What do you truly believe in? What brought about those beliefs?What are you unhappy about, and why?What brings you happiness, and why?What do you want to accomplish with your life, and why? (Kouzes &Posner, 2007)[1]These questions will help you to clarify your values and the principles that support them. The values that you identify will guide whatever decisions you make and actions that you take(Kouzes &Posner, 2007).Often, there is a temptation to set goals without reflection on values and principles. You are most likely to be successful at achieving your goals when you base them on your principles. If you are being authentic, those principles are your values put into action. PrinciplesYour principles represent your values put into action. Suppose you identified one of your values as a strong work ethic. A principle that manifests the value of a strong work ethic might be meeting deadlines so that you provided the maximum benefit to your organization in a timely manner. If you were asked to complete a marketing report by a given day, you would be sure to make your deadline because your motivation would be derived from your principles, not just the due date of the report.Another example of a principle that flows from the value of a strong work ethic might be to support your colleagues in their work. When someone at work asks for advice on a project you are not assigned to, you have a choice between assisting that person or not. If you are principle centered, and a genuine and effective leader, you do not have a choice at all. Your principle of supporting your colleagues in their work would motivate you to render whatever assistance you can—even if it means staying late to complete your own work. Having identified your strengths and weaknesses as a leader or follower, and your values and the principles that flow from them, the next step is to create actionable goals. GoalsEstablishing goals is a method to help you put your values and principles to work, now and in the future, so that you can leverage strengths and overcome weaknesses that may prevent you from achieving outcomes that are important to you. Professional and personal goals you set should be consistent with and further your values and principles. Ideally, they should also be SMART too! The SMART[2]model for goal setting suggests that your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. A goal that is specific identifies what you want to accomplish, how you will accomplish it, and by when. For example, a specific goal might be to lose 20 pounds by going on a 2600 Kcal/day diet and jogging 3 miles, 4 days each week. A measurable goal is one that establishes concrete criteria for accomplishment. Note that losing 20 pounds is highly measurable. Goals that are attainable are goals that are reachable. You probably will not win the Athens Classic Marathon but you might attain the ability to run a marathon. If the goal is realistic, it is one that is important to you—and one that you truly believe can be accomplished. Finally, the goal needs to be timely. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, but you set no time limit, then there is no sense of urgency. Setting a time limit will create that sense of urgency. Then, you can fill in the specific actions and time frames necessary to achieve that goal. Of course, you might want to establish some big “stretch” goals that might follow a BHAG[3] model (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals), which purposely push the performance envelope—relative to what might be considered “realistic and attainable.” Leadership often demands that one move beyond what is currently considered “possible,” so at least one of your leadership-oriented goals should be big![1] Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2007).The leadership challenge (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.[2] Top Achievement. (n.d.). Creating S.M.A.R.T. goals. Retrieved from http://www.topachievement.com/smart.html[3]Gregory, A. (2009). What is your BHAG? How to create a big hairy audacious goal. Retrieved from http://www.sitepoint.com/how-to-create-a-big-hairy-audacious-goal/