Management theories only go so far before you get lost in jargon and charts and models, coming out no wiser for your time spent in the books.
As a manager you carry many responsibilities. Your team looks up to you for guidance and support, your own supervisor has high expectations of you, the business relies on you to effectively and efficiently get things done in order to reach organisational goals.
Management theories only go so far before you get lost in jargon and charts and models, coming out no wiser for your time spent in the books. And that’s just it – without a clear goal, without knowing exactly what you want to achieve, you’ll get lost in the daily grind, the ongoing battle to plan, organise, lead and control your department.
Goal setting is key
As such, the goals you set are key to your ongoing success. And not just the goals you set for business, but also for yourself and for each team member. Setting clear goals is crucial to managing performance, measuring success and adapting for improved performance going forward.
An age old management tip for setting goals is to make them SMART. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.
As much as you may be aware of this well known theory, it’s now more relevant than ever. Here’s why:
As the modern workplace has changed, so have employees' experiences of, and attitudes towards, work evolved. New behaviors and new technologies are influencing how we work, and they’re also influencing how we manage. As a manager it is now your responsibility to lead your team to success, and not drive them there.
So how can you use SMART goals now?
Specific: by setting clear and unambiguous goals you will enable your team to focus. With so many distractions in our tech-savvy work environment, encourage your workers to aim for the right targets. And then allow your team to be creative in achieving them. This leads to more innovative ideas and solutions, and gains business a competitive advantage.
Measurable: concrete criteria for measuring the progress, and success, of the project allows for a defined structure within which teams can work together. By measuring progress and performance correctly, as a manager you will be able to assist and to give praise at key moments, keeping morale and enthusiasm for the job high.
Achievable: with a realistic and attainable goal, teams are confident of success from the outset and more likely to engage in the task with enthusiasm. As intangible as intrinsic motivation may be, giving employees manageable goals improves their desire to complete the task accurately and willingly.
Relevant: by choosing goals that matter you’re showing your team that they and their skills are valuable, that they are contributing to something worthy, which also engenders greater commitment to reaching the goals.
Timely: commitment to a deadline helps a team to focus their efforts and direct their attention in the right direction. Engaging those involved in defining the time required also leads to greater commitment to the deadline, as employees who are honest about the time it takes are more likely to reach deadlines in good time.
For more management advice, browse Careers24 – you might also find your next step up the corporate ladder.