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How to Set Goals as a Manager

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Goals in the workplace propel employees forward by providing a focal point for efforts at the office. As the manager, you set the tone for the type of goals and the level of difficulty of reaching those goals. A balance between pushing your employees to achieve above-average results without making the goals impossible helps your business improve. Employees feel a sense of accomplishment while learning new skills and realizing how much they can accomplish. Before you set your goals, you need to identify the direction of the company and the potential problems you'll face.


Write down the specific areas that you want to focus on with the goals. For example, you might focus on client retention, improving sales or increasing production, depending on the industry and areas of need for your specific business.


Review current statistics related to the goal areas to gain a solid understanding of your starting point. Set your target levels for those numbers. Write your goals based on how you want the numbers to increase. For example, set your goal to increase sales by five percent.


Break down how each employee will help achieve the goals you set. This gives everyone ownership in the goal and gives employees a more concrete understanding of what is expected of them.


Define the measurement for determining success in reaching the goals. If your goal relates to sales, this might be the monthly sales statistics. A concrete way to measure success is necessary for an accurate assessment.


Set a time-line for reaching the goals. Consider the urgency of reaching each goal as well as the amount of work that will go into it. If you set too short of a time-line, your employees may become frustrated at the unrealistic expectations. Set the goal time-line too far into the future and they may not feel any sense of urgency in working toward the goal.


Write down issues that could interfere with the goal. If sales normally drop during the summer months, your employees have more of a challenge to increase the overall sales of the company. Look at potential roadblocks both on a company-wide level and an individual employee level. Brainstorm ways to help your employees overcome the difficulties so they can be successful.


Check in on your progress toward the goals at regular intervals throughout the time-line. Avoid waiting until the deadline as you won't have any sense of how close you are to accomplishing the goals. Keep employees informed on the progress you're making as a whole so they know if they need to push harder.


Review the company's success in the specific goal areas at the end of the time-line. Acknowledge the progress made even if the goals were not achieved. Set new goals to continue guiding work in those areas.


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