How to Set Soft Goals and Measure Soft Results

Achieving results is a walk in the park compared to navigating the fuzzy side of leadership. Measuring success is even more difficult.


The soft stuff:

  1. Building relationships.
  2. Managing energy.
  3. Staying curious.

Technical skills become less valuable and relational skills become more valuable the longer you lead.

Overcoming feelings of hypocrisy:

It feels insincere to measure the relational aspect of leadership. For example, setting a goal to have a two minute conversation with three employees may seem fake or manipulative.

Intention and motivation answer concerns about setting goals around the soft side of leadership.

  1. Be transparent with intention. ‘I’m working to be a better connector.’
  2. Reflect on motivation. Perhaps mutual enrichment is enough motivation to elevate you above feeling like a hypocrite because you set a goal of three personal conversations a day.
  3. Accept, even express frailties. ‘I’m just not good at showing appreciation. I’m working on it this month. I feel appreciative. It’s just hard to express.’

Transparency answers feelings of hypocrisy when learning new behaviors.

Soft goals:

  1. Ask two questions before making any statements.
  2. Go on a gratitude walkabout three times a week.
  3. Learn what motivates the people on your team – one person a day.
  4. Monitor energy in individuals. Inquire when you see energy dip or rise. ‘What just happened for you?’

Measuring the soft stuff:

It feels awkward to measure the relationship side of leadership. Maybe you feel like a hypocrite to set a goal of building a new relationship this month. Add the aspect that relationships are two sided affairs and it becomes even more difficult.

When it comes to the soft stuff:

  1. Measure behaviors. ‘I’m giving one personal affirmation every day.’
  2. Explore impact. Are people more or less energized when you’re around, for example?
  3. Enjoy results.

What is some of the soft stuff of leadership?

How might leaders set goals and measure progress when it comes to the soft stuff?

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