One of the most important skills you can master as a manager is the ability to set achievable but ambitious goals for your team. This is how you drive success and ensure you’re making your vision a reality. However, it’s undeniably challenging to strike the right balance between ambition and realism.
In the paragraphs below, we explore proven strategies for setting ambitious yet achievable goals for employees. We’ll cover methods you can employ to master goal-setting and tools you can use to monitor your success.
1. Set up your framework for tracking progress
To understand whether your approach to goal-setting is effective, you need tools and resources for tracking your team’s progress. Depending on your goals, this could start with investing in the best fingerprint time clock for small businesses or another form of time-tracking technology. You may also need to provide employees with time management tools and establish regular one-on-one and team meetings to chart progress on key projects.
2. Use the tried and tested SMART goal approach
The SMART goal framework gives you an easy way to ensure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound – all key elements to a well-crafted goal. By making this framework the standard in your business, you can empower your team to set their own goals that are clear, well-defined, and focused on specific outcomes.
In addition to improving accountability and reducing ambiguity, the framework allows you to give your team more autonomy over their work. Many studies have shown that employees are far more motivated when they have autonomy over their work, and that motivation is a crucial element in achieving goals.
3. Focus more on outcomes and less on methodology
Of course, you need your team to take a safe and ethical approach to every task they complete. However, in general, it’s wise to give them the freedom to decide how they will achieve the goals you set for them. This is how you open up space for innovation and creative thinking.
4. Establish the groundwork for smooth collaboration
Your employees will achieve more as a team than they could ever do individually. However, this is only true if you’ve put the work in to establish the groundwork for effective collaboration. You can do this by fostering a cooperative environment rather than a competitive one. Encourage employees to congratulate their teammates when they see good work, and reward those who collaborate effectively and support their colleagues. By fostering a supportive team environment, you incentivize your employees to work together towards common goals, which should lead to better results.
5. Check in regularly with feedback and support
By their very nature, ambitious goals are going to be challenging, so your employees will likely need feedback and support to stay on track. As a leader, you must provide this feedback and support, offering resources to make tasks easier, engaging in regular check-ins, and offering constructive criticism and advice.
6. Draw benefits from your successes and your failures
Celebrating success is easy, but you must also face any failures. By toasting your team’s success, you’ll motivate and inspire them to take on new challenges. By helping them learn from failures, you empower your team to improve their processes and strategies for achieving future goals. Over time, this approach will foster a culture of continuous improvement that drives your business into new and exciting territory.
Follow these tips, and you can help your team stay motivated and focused on achieving results, even when the goals you’ve set are challenging and ambitious.