Definition of Goal Setting:
Goal setting is a theory put forward by Edwin Locke in the 1960s which talks about fixing a goal or an aim of achieving something and setting up a process to achieve it through timely feedback and retrospection. According to Locke, human beings thrive on this pursuit of their goals. The idea is to give a sense of purpose and achievement that will push them to perform in their best form.
At the workplace, goal setting plays a pivotal role in guiding your employees in the right direction, planning realistically, motivating employees and evaluating them fairly.
How to set goals for your team?
As a leader, it is important to set goals for the entire team and its individual members. These goals should be designed in such a manner that the employee is self-motivated and committed to performing the task, and it is in alignment with the goals of the company. Here are some points to keep in mind:
- While setting goals, ensure that it is slightly challenging, such that it forces employees to expand their learning. At the same time, ensure that it is not too challenging, since it can be demotivating to the employees.
- Ensure that your employees have clarity on what their goals are about and let them know how they can reach out to you for feedback and guidance.
- Make sure that the goals are SMART; Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Relevant, and Timely. The goals have to be at least 50% achievable. Only then your employees are motivated to work towards it.
- Provide autonomy. Give your team members the freedom to explore different ways to achieve those goals.
- Understand your team’s dynamics. Have clarity on how your team works, and set goals accordingly such that all work well together.
- Realise that not everything is in your control and set up a contingency plan. Let people know how you can manage to achieve your goals or reassign/revisit your goals in such cases.
- Think of long term gains while setting up goals. Some goals may not give an immediate ROI, but they will give it eventually. Ensure that the team member working on such goals is aware of this and is not demotivated in the process.
- Give a chance to fail and learn. Employees are likely to fail at their first attempt, especially when the task is challenging. Motivate them to strive harder and let them know that you belive in them.
- Setup periodic check ins. See how your team members are performing at their goals and provide feedback wherever necessary.
Skills required for achieving your goals:
Goal setting and achievement depend on some good old skills that can be learnt and acquired. They include:
- Planning and Prioritizing: Plan your day or week ahead and prioritize your tasks such that there are no distractions along the way.
- Motivation: Cultivate a desire to achieve and learn new skills and techniques. When achieving challenging tasks, motivation is the fuel that can keep you going.
- Manage your time well: Be realistic about the timescale required to achieve the goal. After the objective of goal setting is to achieve your goals in a timely manner. This will also help in planning and prioritising your task accordingly.
- Be Adaptable: Things may not always go as planned. Be prepared to adapt to these changing circumstances and make quick decisions that can help you reach your goal.
- Commitment: Make sure that the goals help with your personal development as well, so that you can remain committed to it and continue to give your best.
How to set up SMART Goals:
- Specific: Vague goals don’t yield results. Specific goals give people a purpose and can help people spring into action. Setup goals that are achievable, have clarity, and not overwhelming to the person. For example: Start a new marketing campaign for the your product.
- Measurable: To keep track of your progress and to know if you are moving in the right direction, see how you can measure the progress of your goals. This gives your employees the autonomy to move at a pace of their liking and track their performance themselves. For example: For the marketing campaign, you want the followers to increase by 1000.
- Assignable: Assign the task to someone/team who is capable of achieving the goal or willing to work and learn about it. For example: The marketing team would decide the tactics to achieve the marketing goal.
- Relevant: Make sure that the goals are aligned with the long term company goals. Let your team members know how their goals contribute to the overall success of the team and the company. This will motivate them to do more. For example: The marketing campaign should provide a brand awareness amongst people belonging to a certain age group.
- Timely: Goals are time bound. Setting it up to infinity is not productive and can discourage employees, while a short deadline can be stressful. Understand the degree of difficulty in each task, and set a deadline that gives your employees the space to learn and grow in the process. For example: The marketing team should be able to increase the followers on Twitter by 1000 in two months time.