New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Mitchell G. Rothstein and Ronald J. Burke
Chapter 9: Personal Goals for Self-Directed Leaders: Traditional and New Perspectives
Thomas S. Bateman All my life I’ve always wanted to be somebody. But I see now that I should have been more specific. (Fictional character who never quite got her act together, played by Lily Tomlin, from Searching for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Wagner, 1985) And you may ask yourself . . . same as it ever was? (With apologies to David Byrne) If you care enough about a result, you will almost certainly attain it. (William James) Self-management is of course exceedingly complex, but at its core are personal goals and feedback (Latham and Locke, 1991). Other chapters in this volume focus on feedback, and offer many useful perspectives on this vital construct. This chapter focuses on the other core construct: personal goals. Your motivation can come from many sources, but the most powerful driver is your personal goals. Goals motivate us in all important aspects of our lives, and leadership development is no exception. This chapter offers a variety of personal goals that are potentially helpful toward developing into a better leader. Goals direct people’s attention, energize and change behavior, and inspire accomplishment and higher performance (Locke and Latham, 1990). Specific goals are more effective at these things than vague goals. ‘I want to be an awesome person’ and ‘I want to be a successful businessperson’ are worthy aspirations, but they are pretty vague. ‘I want to become a better leader’ is arguably a bit more specific, especially when used as a stepping stone toward personal greatness and...
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