Research findings show that the most stressful type of work is that which values excessive demands and pressures that are not matched to workers’ knowledge and abilities, where there is little opportunity to exercise any choice or control, and where there is little support from others.
As we move on to the next hot topic of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting, it’s time to be REALISTIC! Whether you’re an eternal optimist or a ‘glass-half-full’ kind of individual, you’re bound to question the achievability of the targets you dish out to your employees each month – or are you?
In fact, you’d be surprised by the number of sales reps out in the field, feeling completely lost and inadequate when reviewing their monthly KPI’s. All the time in the world and an infinite budget wouldn’t even touch the sides of various quotas – some demands are simply too hard to meet (and you may not even be aware).
"How do perfectionists respond to high expectations?"
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with aiming high; we need to feel motivated to achieve our goals after all. But what happens when we pitch expectations so high, that they’re out of reach? Notwithstanding, certain employees may have plateaued or become complacent, needing a new focus or a push to reach their full potential - hence the elevated challenge of greater results may actually be welcomed by all parties.
On the other hand, some leaders may be completely unaware of their staff’s limits, forever banding them in target groups and generalising expectations. You can’t blame them when they have a massive workforce. However, this is problematic on a number of fronts. Firstly, those perfectionists amongst us suffer tremendously when confronted with feelings of inadequacy or an inability to achieve. We’ll forever reach for the sky, despite a fixed ceiling in place which makes the feat impossible. Although we endeavour to succeed against the odds, the subsequent stress that ensues as a result, could be extremely dangerous to our health and long-term value as a company asset.
Employee moral vs. productivity…
The idea of ‘a happy life = a happy worker’ may not be as ‘fairy tale’ as it sounds. An increased release of ‘feel good’ hormones when one is content and prospering at work, not only keeps spirits high, but also augments cognition and spurs us on to work hard and feel satisfied. Ultimately, performance and productivity rely on a full investment from employees in the driving seat to make results possible – both physically and emotionally. Therefore, if goals are unrealistic, then not only moral takes a hit, but overall productivity also remains unfulfilled.
"Are you communicating with your team?"
You’ve identified specific needs, are aware that parameters are needed to measure progress and may also have considered the attainability of said targets. BUT, have you allocated said goals to the right individual? One with the knowledge, ability, opportunity and correct support network to have a reasonable chance of success? If not, it’s time to sit down, get to know one another’s strengths, educate and circulate REALISTIC goals accordingly.
How can you ensure that goals are achievable for a workforce of thousands?
Team, or one-on-one meetings may sound appealing, but in themselves prove to be unrealistic. When huge companies with thousands of employees making up the taskforce rely on an even distribution of KPI’s, it’s not easy to impose the correct balance of pressure and encouragement to each and every worker.
At a management level, that indirectly impresses a level of accountability to maintain staff wellbeing and keep stress at bay, whilst simultaneously providing an engaging and motivational environment. You need an integrated system to take control of goal setting when catering for the masses – automated applications make this possible, whilst also protecting performance.
We know that we can’t possibly please everyone all the time. However, keeping work-related anxiety and unnecessary stress under control mustn’t be taken lightly – not only during the current Mental Health Awareness week, but all the time.
Realistic goals pave the way for satisfied and inspired operatives, who feel supported and healthily challenged. For those in charge, it is impossible to achieve this level of attainability alone – thank goodness for sophisticated software which can assume the responsibility of fine-tuning KPI’s to an individual’s needs, allowing you to allocate, track and boost productivity and wellbeing across the board.