Effective Leadership Skills – Managing by MBOs


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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