Here are five easily avoidable goal setting mistakes that managers make.

5 Mistakes Managers Makes When Setting Goals

1. Not spending enough time on the goal-setting conversation

We, at Actuate Microlearning, have noticed managers treating the goal-setting exercise as a mere formality, rushing through the exercise, or using emails to share goals with their team members. As a result, you have team members:

  1. Unclear about the exact expectations that the organisation has of them
  2. Unable to get their doubts and questions clarifications

2. Not explaining the ‘why’ behind goals (especially those goals that have been newly introduced)

A failure to explain the reasoning behind the goals that the organisation has set itself for the year leaves team members clueless about the business case, logic or the ‘doability’ behind the organisation’s decisions.

Consequently, team members find the tough goals set to be draconian, and their motivation to give their all towards achieving these soon dissipates.

3. Neglecting the ‘how’ and the ‘when’ of the goals

Not breaking each goal into its component tasks, nor establishing clear timelines and deadlines for the tasks and goals, leaves team members unsure about how exactly they can go about meeting these goals.

Non-achievement of goals, a compromise in quality scores and missed timelines are the consequence.

4. ‘Cascading’ goals to the whole team at one go

The goal setting exercise requires the manager to spend time one-on-one with team members:

  1. Clarifying goals (and tasks and deadlines)
  2. Resolving fears and doubts
  3. Identifying obstacles to goal achievement
  4. Defining workarounds to these obstacles

Managers, we at Actuate Microlearning have noted, often however simply call for a team meeting where goals are ‘cascaded’ to everyone together, with very little time allotted to deal with individual queries, doubts and challenges that team members may experience.

As a result, the doubts, mistakes and impediments that prevented goal achievement the last time around will continue to be stumbling blocks this time around, too.

5. Ignoring unethical behaviour that stringent goals can drive people to

When goals are tough to attain, the temptation to resort to questionable short-cuts, unethical behaviour or actions contrary to the organisation’s value system can be tempting for individuals.

Managers often fail to warn team members against these, thereby risking the organisation’s images and coffers as a consequence.

To learn more about goal setting, please view our Slideshow

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