7 tips to setting the right goals at work

Ashley Castellini
7 tips to setting the right goals at work

Goal-setting is about making aspirations achievable. It’s also an opportunity to boost your team’s confidence, align their objectives with corporate strategy and monitor individual progress. It’s an ongoing task that evolves and changes with your employees’ career progress and company objectives. Here are our top tips for setting the right work goals:

  1. Cull non-essential goals
  2. Let them choose their path
  3. Make it challenging
  4. Pick goals with a time frame
  5. Schedule check-ins
  6. Track of accomplishments
  7. Share your goals

Let’s look at each of them in more detail:

1. Cull non-essential goals

Being positive and pro-active when it comes to goal-setting is one thing. Overloading your team is another. One of the main aims of goal-setting is to give your team psychological ‘safety’: a secure knowledge of what they need to achieve and why. By spending just a short time once in a while removing goals that aren’t clearly aligned with their role, career progression or broader corporate objectives, you declutter their vision and actively improve their ability to perform.

2. Let them choose their path

When it comes to personal development goals, it can be beneficial to let your team take control. The goal still needs to come from your business plan; however, giving your team the autonomy to decide how they reach the target is tremendously motivational. Psychologist Edwin A Locke identified that in successful goal-setting, the whole journey is as important as the destination, and letting your employees direct their route brings commitment and enthusiasm. It also shows that you listen and respond to their talents and aspirations. Building employee autonomy will motivate the team to take responsibility for their own development, doing good work for your company in the process.

3. Make it challenging

Let’s be honest – nobody works well when they’re bored. A sure way to engage the interest of your team is to set (or encourage them to set) challenging goals. Again, according to Locke’s research, provided the employees know that there’s no punishment for not meeting a tricky target, setting ambitious goals can do wonders to promote creativity. But make sure you keep a realistic balance – don’t expect anyone on your team to spin straw into gold.

4. Pick goals with a time frame

This should be a realistic time frame for the goal to be achieved. Assess what type of goal it is, it is short-term, medium or a long-term goal and this will help you set a realistic time frame to achieve it. You want to reach your goal so don’t give yourself too much time that you become complacent but also, don’t give yourself too little time that it is unachievable.

5. Schedule check-ins

Checking-in with your manager on your goals helps keep them in focus and top of mind. This also gives you the opportunity to discuss any roadblocks or issues. These check-ins could be part of a weekly 1:1, this will ensure that the goals are being discussed and worked on.

6. Track of accomplishments

We all like to know when we have done well and achieved something. Tracking when you’ve reached a goal creates a sense of accomplishment and can spur on greater goals and growth. Also, it is a great idea to have your goals down on paper for career progression or future goal ideation.

7. Share your goals

When goals are shared amongst team members, this creates a kind of social reinforcement that gives us a healthy pressure to help us meet our goals. We benefit from the social support offered by peers, who are then naturally in a great position to congratulate us when we meet our goals or offer suggestions going forward. We can revel in a collective sense of pride when goals are achieved – a whole team win!

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Author - Ashley Castellini