How to set SMARTER goals for your team

The performance of your team as a whole reflects on your skills as a manager. So encouraging them to strive towards the right goals is a really important part of your work, and can come in pretty handy at home too.

Goals are a vital part of managing and motivating a team. They can:

  • Focus your team members’ attention away from distractions and towards activities that will help them achieve more.
  • Motivate them to work more efficiently and be more persistent in achieving results.
  • Help them to discover resources, strategies and skills to resolve issues that may otherwise have stopped them.   

Make sure your goals are SMARTER

Like many things in life, not all goals are equal. Set the wrong goals and you can risk demotivating your team and achieving less. To get the results you want, you need to give your team effective goals that they are equipped to work towards. In short, your goals need to be SMARTER:

  • Specific – be very clear about what you want them to achieve. Don’t just give your team a list of tasks, but explain what you want them to achieve by completing them
  • Measurable – explain how you will measure the success of the goal. Are you hoping to achieve a certain quantity? Meet a time deadline? How will your team know when they have completed their goal?
  • Agreed – you need to ensure that your team are happy with and committed to your goal. And the only way to know this is by checking that they agree with it.
  • Realistic – the goals you set should stretch and challenge your team, but be within their resources or abilities. The idea is to push them into achieving more, not demoralising them with a target they’re not equipped to meet.
  • Time bound – your goal should always have a defined end date. if it’s a long term goal, break it up into shorter, manageable chunks so that your team can review their progress and be encouraged by a sense of accomplishment.
  • Exciting to get the best out of your team, they should feel excited by the challenge of your goal, and raring to go. So ensure that a goal is something that will benefit them too, either directly by a promotion or bonus, for example, or indirectly in the learning of valuable new skills or experience.
  • Reviewed regularly reviewing the progress of your goals helps your team to stay motivated and focussed with a feeling that they really are getting somewhere. It also allows you to step in with support and practical help early if they are struggling. If you need to, you can also alter your goal for a better outcome.