Effective Leadership Skills – Managing by MBOs

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Management of companies believe that effective leadership skills include being able to evaluate staff based on individual MBOs (Management By Objectives). And evaluating staff by MBOs is the secret to a well run company. Yet they are surprised when team-related problems occur. If staff is evaluated on their own performance without including how they contributed to the company, teams with competing goals will always be in conflict.

Now I don’t want you to think I don’t believe in MBOs. Truth is, I’m a big believer in performance metrics and goals and all that stuff. In fact, I believe effective leadership skills training and evaluation should include metrics; otherwise, how can we effectively measure someone’s performance? However, I believe that every group of MBOs for individual contributors or management needs to include team-related goals as well. Think about this for a second: Do you believe that an individual can be a star performer without contributing to the team-their own or the company at large? I’ll bet some of you will argue that a superstar contributes simply because of their individual performance. After all, if they do their job well, doesn’t the team/company benefit? Yes and no.

Organizations are often made up of multiple teams that have to work together, or individuals who have to work within a team. Just because a salesperson is meeting their goals does not mean they aren’t competing against their teammates or having challenges with other departments. I think you get the point. If we want to decide that effective leadership skills mean managing by MBOs, at least include a metric for contribution to the team. Otherwise, accept that teams with competing goals will always be in conflict.



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