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How to Set Goals for Your Team


If you’re a manager, you may be spending quite a bit of time right now evaluating goals for your team in the coming year. How do you create goals in alignment with the organization’s priorities, set your team up for success, and most of all, make sure that your goals will be met? It is often an intense process, but done right, it can have spectacular results.

bulls eye

(Photo Credit: Richard_of_England/Flickr)

Here are a few tips that can help:

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1. Think big-picture.

Yes, you have to meet your manager’s objectives for you, and yes, you are supposed to be aligned to your function, but do your homework to understand where the organization is headed and how your team can impact it. Depending on the size of your team, your impact could be big. Think of various ways you can impact the business results positively. Think beyond your expectations.

2. Make an action plan.

When you are discussing your goals with your manager, ensure that you go in prepared. If you are able to go into your meeting understanding your manager’s perspective, you’re less work for your manager. Go with an action plan for the ways you think your team can influence results. Be prepared for the discussion.

3. Share your goals, vision, and ideas with your team and partner with them.

Instead of telling them what you want them to do, share your vision for the team, your goals, and how you see them align with the bigger organizational vision. Help them understand why the goals are important – solicit questions and ensure that you have buy-in from them. Encourage them to share ideas on how to go about achieving the goals. Chances are, you will have a much more motivated team, because they will see you not just as a manager but as a trusting partner.

4. Identify your team’s strengths and opportunities.

Know your team members’ strengths and areas of improvement. When assigning projects, make sure you are not only capitalizing on their strengths but are also giving them opportunities for growth. Help them buddy each other so they can learn from each other’s strengths and understand best practices.

5. Encourage stretch goals, but don’t stretch them too thin.

It’s a delicate balance. People want to do their best; as a manager, you need to understand your employees’ constraints and help them to their potential without overburdening them or letting them slack. But once you assign goals, ensure that you’re helping your reports stay on track. Don’t micromanage, but make sure that your team knows that you have their back when they need help.

6. Have regular check-ins.

Invest in the success of your team. Give your team members the space to learn for themselves. Don’t be too involved in their projects, but have regular check-ins to understand how your team is progressing and whether they need your intervention anywhere. This also helps you to make any necessary changes to assignments.

Tell Us What You Think

So how do you go about assigning goals to your team? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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