Hopefully your church has developed goals for the year. Your job as church leader is to help your team manage challenging church goals.
I recently read an article about a study that uncovers an interesting result of goals that are perceived as being too difficult to attain – abusive supervisors.
This study reveals that when unattainable goals are set, the stress and pressure on supervisors to achieve those goals, increases. And it is the employee who pays the price.
The research found a strong correlation between a supervisor’s assigned job goals, that were perceived as being too difficult to attain, and reports of abusive behavior toward subordinates.
The study explained that organizations that were experiencing financial challenges, may set goals that are unrealistic and unreasonable.
Which consequently makes it difficult for the supervisor to achieve.
The mounting challenge for all organizations to do more, with less, just contributes to this tendency to set unreasonable goals.
So with all of our talk about the importance of setting goals, how does an organization reconcile this?
4 Ways to Help Supervisors Manage Challenging Goals
1. Create SMART Goals
First and foremost, goals should be attainable and should be written using the SMART goal development model.
This process ensures that goals are within reach and are accountable for achievement.
When asking the question, “is this goal attainable?”
All things should be considered.
Available resources, conflicts with other projects, timelines, skill-sets, politics, team cohesiveness, etc.
Stretch goals are OK, as long as there is flexibility for those unpredictable challenges that seem to always come up.
For instance, a church may have a goal to roll out a ministry to feed the hungry in its community.
But before rolling out this ministry make sure whoever is put in charge has the resources (people, time and money) to support the effort.
Supervisors need ongoing training so they have the most current tools and resources to manage their employees and job responsibilities. But more importantly, their stress.
Example training might be on topics like effective communication, conflict resolution and employee management.
Self-awareness training can also provide a supervisor with sensitivity to how others perceive their communication and behaviors.
There should be a mentor/coach assigned to them who can be available as a sounding board when challenging issues arise.
For instance. A new manager may have a difficult employee and need help determining the best approach to resolving a conflict that is impacting productivity.
This simple process gives the supervisor someone to talk to who can help them think through, respond and communicate their challenges – up the ladder if necessary.
It can be is a healthy exercise to do 360 degree feedback with managers.
This process allows employees to provide feedback on how others work and behave in the workplace.
If a supervisor understands how subordinates perceive their behaviors, it can serve as a wake up call for change. As well as identify professional development opportunities.
Ministries need to balance the tension of writing and achieving church goals with the reality of limited resources.
Successful organizations have learned to manage this tension and create environments that get things done – without needless casualties along the way.