How A Good Manager Sets Goals

How A Good Manager Sets Goals

Goals are a vital part of business success. Without them, employees do not know what to strive for, how to accomplish tasks,s and when they have accomplished below or beyond expectations. Employees must be given performance tasks they are to achieve. It is the manager’s responsibility to set a performance goal for every employee. The performance goal acts as a guide to accomplishing a task. Employees want to understand how their work contributes to the growth of the organization and how it aligns with the company’s overall objectives. This connection makes it explicit for them. Before setting goals, a manager needs to identify the company’s direction and the potential problem that could be faced by employees while trying to achieve these goals. The goals should be realistic and achievable to avoid pushing the employees to the extreme. Goal setting is an important tool in providing feedback on the outputs of both the company and the employees.

Factors a manager should consider while setting goals for employees:

Establish goals that align with the general company’s objective

Very few managers consider what the employee is personally trying to achieve in the context of the work. Employees’ goals should be directly linked to the company’s overall growth strategy. The first step is to identify the company’s objectives and the employees’ goals. There should be room for employees to voice their thoughts. Through this, the manager can note down the employees’ goals and think of ways to link them up to the company’s goal. Ensuring that there is a shared commitment between the company and the employee. Employees are more focused and motivated to achieve goals when it is of benefit to both the company and themselves. Most employees want to understand how their efforts contribute to the greater good of the company. This increases accountability and commitment. Managers can choose to link the employees’ goals to the company’s objectives and from there transform those into team performance goals.


Involve the employees when setting goals

It is of utmost importance that managers involve the employees when setting goals. No better person to identify where a shoe pinches more than the person wearing it. Managers may have specific goals in mind for employees but will get insightful suggestions when they ask the employees to identify goals that are precisely related to their job role and can help to boost the employees. Managers should try as much as possible not to impose goals on employees but encourage them to suggest goals they feel will be of benefit to their field. When their proposed goal aligns with the company’s objectives, the manager can work along with the employees to achieve these goals. Every employee is different, so it’s advisable to ask what the employee needs to achieve the goals you’ve set together.  These tools could include auxiliary training organized within and outside the company, professional certifications sponsored by the company, or motivational strategies that you and the employee agree on.


Use the SMART platform when setting goals

In the past, managers may have lacked the capacity to set goals that can be realistically achieved by the employees. They create vague or poorly crafted goals that the employees may not be able to achieve and therefore lead to failure to achieve the company’s goal. When the objective is overly ambitious and or unrealistic, the goal is rarely achieved. Burdening employees with goals that are out of reach will only frustrate and demoralize them. Using a SMART( specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based) framework can help the manager carefully plan for a clear and traceable goal. Each component of the smart framework works together to define boundaries, determine the next phases, identify essential resources that will be needed to accomplish the goal, and specify performance indicators.

  • Specific: A good manager will create his that are clear and distinct as possible. When setting goals it is essential that the manager does not give vague instructions. When discussing with employees it is advisable to ask the employees open-ended questions like the goals they are trying to achieve, and how they intend to accomplish the goal. This will make the employees give a broader explanation of how they intend to achieve the goals that have been set. It is important that the manager helps the employees understand what the goals entail and how to achieve them.
  • Measurable: The SMART framework outlines detailed criteria that are used to monitor the progress of employees towards achieving a goal. This criterion is called the key performance indicator. It acts as a map to direct and the progress of employees, keep them accountable and motivated as they can quantify how much closer they are to achieving a goal. For a salesperson, an increase in sales can be measured by comparing his sales over the previous months to his sales for the first current month.

When determining goals that are measurable then this question should linger in the mind of the manager.

What are the key performance indicators?

  • Achievable: A well-structured goal is one that the employees can realistically attain, but should also push the employee in their role so they feel challenged. In this STARS of goal setting the manager is to consider any the constraint that will impede the employees from achieving their goals.

To determine  if a goal is achievable, the following questions should have a positive response:

Is the goal achievable?

Does the employee have the necessary tools to achieve this goal? if not, what are the and to break the barriers preventing the successful completion of the job?

Is there an available team to achieve this goal?

  • Relevant: To determine a goal that is relevant, the manager should do a background check to see if it aligns with other goals and the company’s objective. There should be a clear description of the benefits the goal will add to the business.

To determine if a goal is relevant then the following questions should have a positive response:

 Does the goal align with the company’s objective?

Does the goal align with the current business trend?

  • Time-based: It is also part of the manager’s duty to set a timeline for a goal to be met. Without this, the employees will not feel the sense of urgency to accomplish the goal. This is why it is crucial to set a clear target date to meet goals. The manager should also refrain from setting a timeline that is not sufficient to accomplish a given task.


Create a plan to achieve goals

Now that the goals have been set, the next step is to carefully plan how to achieve these goals. It is the manager’s responsibility to request an explicit breakdown from employees on how they intend to achieve these goals. Have the employee break down goals into tasks and set temporary objectives especially if it’s a big or long-term project. Ask the employee the appropriate milestone, the hurdles that could be faced, and how they can be mitigated. Create a team to achieve goals, so employees will know who to depend on and how to influence one another to achieve maximum output. The manager should have in mind that there is maximum productivity when employees work together. As the popular saying goes” two heads are better than one”.


Monitor progress

Different organizations review their employees’ performance at different times of the year. It could be monthly, quarterly, or yearly. This helps the company to determine the strengths and weaknesses of staff members and how much they have accomplished. When setting a goal for an employee does not wait till the next performance review or end of the project to discuss the progress. Keeping up with the employees helps to ward off any set back early on. Review both short-term and long-term goals on a weekly basis. Develop milestones that should be met along the way as the employee strives to achieve the goal. The manager is required to give feedback to employees according to output, good feedback for a job well done, and negative feedback for low output. Every employee needs frequent feedback on their progress, even the high-performing ones might have a loophole you can help them identify. This is essential when it is a project that is new or challenging.


Structure goals in ways that will avoid the rivalry between employees

Goal setting can be of advantage and disadvantage to the company. When a goal is not well structured it can lead to competition and rivalry between employees. This can rapidly reduce a positive work culture, impede growth, reduce enthusiasm, and increase frustration and hostility.


Identify hurdles that can reduce productivity

Managers should ask employees to report obstacles that could interfere with the goals. For instance, if goals normally drop during a certain period of the year, the employees will have greater challenges in achieving the set target during that period of the year. This can be clearly seen in companies that manufacture sachet water. The monthly sales normally drop during the rainy season. This is because there is a decrease in the rate at which the human body gets dehydrated and this will lead to a resultant decrease in thirst for water. The employee should brainstorm was to assist the employees to overcome difficulties so they can be successful.


Compensate employees that achieve their goal

It is vital that managers acknowledge staff members that achieve or surpass their goals. This form of compensation could come in form of incentives, bonuses, increase in pay, gratuity, or public acknowledgment. This gives the employees a sense of fulfillment. It also increases productivity as this shows that their efforts are actually being recognized. Alternatively, when this is not done, employees may assume there is no point in tolling so hard and reducing productivity. The employee in question could leave the company entirely and accept offers from other companies that recognize and compensate for hard work.


Work closely with employees that fail to achieve goals

Not every employee will achieve set goals, regardless of how much they try. As discussed above, a manager is tasked with monitoring the progress of employees. At times like this, when an employee fails to achieve his target, the manager is to discuss with the employee to identify the reason behind it. This is why it is very important for a manager to maintain a good relationship with their subordinates, so they can easily meet them for advice when they have problems. If the problem was within his control, ask him to suggest ways he intends to rectify the problem. Then finally advise him on how to do better. If the problem was not within his control or the goal was too ambitious, then there might be a need to rework the goal. The manager should be willing to reflect on his role in the failure and take responsibility.

Career Tips

Leave a Reply