How a Good Manager Sets Goals

by Alan Kirk; Updated September 26, 2017

Setting goals for managers helps them guide their teams to success. Goals not only should be set, but explained thoroughly to the employees to help them understand the importance of the goals. Helping your employees to meet the goals that are set for them can help build a team environment in the office. Effective goal setting can be the difference between meeting a deadline for a crucial project and falling short of success.

Include the Employees

Super-solutions.com recommends that a manager include the employees when setting goals. This means sitting down with the employees and discussing areas that need improvement and how to get there. Each employee is different, so you should get their input as to what they think they need to do to reach the goals that you set together. These tools could include additional training within the company, courses offered by others outside the company, or motivational strategies that you and the employees agree upon.

Use the SMART Method

The SMART method uses an acronym to spell out five steps to setting goals. The first is to make the goal Specific: use specific numbers in the goal that you set as a manager for your employee. Make the goal Measurable as well: avoid goals such as "to improve" and state instead how much the employee should improve and include how it will be measured. Add value by setting the goal: when setting it make it clear to the employee how reaching the goal will help him and the company as well. Keep the goal Realistic: setting a goal that appears to be unattainable will not motivate your employee and might result in her feeling overwhelmed. Finally, include a Time frame when the goal should be completed by. Do not just say "to improve sales by 10 percent," instead say "to improve sales by 10 percent before the second quarter of next year."

Provide Frequent Feedback

When setting a goal, do not just set the goal and then wait until the next performance review or the deadline to discuss it. Develop milestones that should be met along the way as your employee works to meet her goal. Provide positive feedback to her when she meets these milestones. If she falls behind on the milestones offer her suggestions for how to catch up and meet the next milestone. By offering continuous feedback it will reinforce to the employee how important this goal is and show her that she is not in it alone. You will both monitor her progress and try to help her meet her goal; you are working as her boss and teammate at the same time.

About the Author

Alan Kirk has been writing for online publications since 2006. He has more than 15 years' experience in catering, management and government relations. Kirk has a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Maryland.