Working with Company Goals
If you're in a company with forward-thinking management, it already works on principles that will work with your interest in leadership. But no company behaves consistently in this manner. Even the best of corporations have pockets that resist the practices conducive to practicing leadership. Some will seem hostile to the practice. No matter where your employer comes down in the scale, there will be times that you'll need to lead effectively in spite of contrary conditions. A major tool at your disposal is a publicly stated company goal.
Existence of Goals
All managements make grand pronouncements on a regular basis. It's sometimes window dressing, but it can be a sincere interest in the stated principle. Generally it's some mixture of the two. They may be expressed only to employees or to the world at large.
Motivation doesn't really matter in this case because the company says it throws its weight behind these statements. The concept of using such corporate goals is simple. The more closely you adhere to the publicly stated aims of the corporation, and the more you can demonstrate that your goals would advance them, the more difficult it is for someone to publicly or privately criticize you or your intent. How can you take someone to task for trying to achieve the stated company mission?
Using corporate goals in this way might seem manipulative — and it can be — but it's ultimately good for the company and the other people working there. Using principles as a rallying cry puts them front and center. Supporting them only advances the organization outside of people's incompatible personal goals. Every time you help advance the highest corporate aspirations, you help improve the atmosphere, making leadership easier to undertake.
The first step is to research stated company goals and principles and make a laundry list. You might find them in a number of sources, including the following:
Corporate mission statements
Top management quotes in news stories
Biographies of managers
The same goes for departmental and group goals. Hold to them — and show how your goals will support them — and you make it difficult for people to oppose you, even if they would rather spend their time focusing on their own interests.
Goals and Positioning
As much as possible, you make your goal and the company's goal the same. This is an example of what in marketing or public relations would be called positioning.
In politics, positioning has become an art. Pay attention to the names that congressional representatives attach to bills and laws. There are many examples of a title being the polar opposite of what the sponsors actually want legislation to achieve.
Ironically, people can use such techniques to try and advance aims that they actually intend to benefit their own careers. The difference is that you must keep honor in mind. A sure sign that people are playing a positioning game is if, when they are successful in getting authority to do what they wanted but the result is failure, they then try to blame someone or something else. Don't go this route. Play above board, and if things don't work as you planned, avoid pointing the finger at everyone else. You'll be uncomfortable at times, but team members will respect you more, and others in the company won't feel as though you'll try to saddle them with unwarranted responsibility if they help you and you fail.