5 Ways to Help Your Team Keep Their Goals on Track

Posted by Julie • October 13, 2016 (Last modified September 4, 2019) • 5 min read

In the business world, goals are everywhere. Any given businesses may have sales goals, client goals, culture goals, and maybe even overall business goals. As a manager, you delegate tasks to your employees, but when everyone has so much on their plate already, it’s easy to let things slip away. That’s why it’s so important to keep your team on track. Their success is your success, and their goals are your goals. Here are 5 ways to help your team keep their goals on track:

1. Have Team Members Create a Detailed Plan

Goal planning helps both you and your employees get your goal into focus. Work together with your employees to set goals, so you’re always on the same page; don’t just say what you want to achieve, figure out exactly how you’re going to get there. Did you know? Employees who write down goals are 50% more likely to achieve them than those without written goals.

Writing goals down also provides peace of mind. Research shows that within one hour, people will have forgotten an average of 50% of the information you talked to them about. After you’ve written your goals down, you and your employees don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll remember things, you can focus on actually accomplishing tasks.

Tip: This detailed plan doesn’t have to begin with detail. Have employees track their time loosely and then have them figure out where they are spending their most productive time versus time that is less than productive. Once this is done, have employees add tasks they are assigned weekly to find alignment between what they are working on and what they are assigned.

2. Make Sure Their Goals Connect with the Big Picture

Shockingly, only 40% of employees are familiar with their company’s goals, strategies, and tactics. Without an understanding of the role they play in the company, employees are more likely to be unsuccessful and disengaged.

The average supervisor spends less than 30 minutes a day talking with employees. It’s understandable, you’re very busy, but make that time count by discussing the future of the company and where they fit in to make that future happen. It won’t just help your goals- it’ll help also help your employee retention. Opening up about the big picture achieves a 30% reduction in employee turnover.

Tip: The above plan gets more detailed when we add big picture goals. A member/group/team/department/division/company structure works best. Have your employees work through increasingly broader goals ranges instead of trying to connect individuals to corporate in step 1. You’ll need to offer guidance during this step.

3. Be Supportive, Not Controlling

Don’t derail your employees’ confidence with micromanagement. Instead, focus on what really matters and leave the rest up to your employee. Jennifer Chatman, a professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, says:

“Micromanaging displaces the real work of leaders, which is developing and articulating a compelling and strategically relevant vision for your team.”

As they start to achieve goals on their own, their confidence in their own abilities will grow. Self-confidence in employees is key: a confident employee may feel more comfortable working with others and taking on new projects.

Tip: Connect each team’s goals to a corporate goal from the outset. If they know how much mistakes can cost the company, in either lost time, or productivity, they’re more likely to take ownership of a job well done, every time.

4. Make Sure They Track and Measure Goals Regularly

Quantifying progress ensures that neither you, nor your employees, get discouraged in the process. Have your employees track their time and find out when they’re the most creative and productive. Then, have them use that time period every day to review their goals and complete the tasks that push toward success. Make sure they track the amount of time spent on each particular task: saying, “I finished a workflow,” is one thing. Being able to say, “I finished a 6-part workflow in 3 hours,” is another.

Different personality types may want to work on their goals in different ways. It’s important to encourage them to work in ways they’re most productive. Extroverts may need to discuss their progress more frequently and get input from their co-workers. Introverts may need more quiet time to reflect and find the best path to success.

Tip: You’ll also have to step in here as well. Whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly or farther apart, this will not become a habit unless you make it one. Micromanagement is one thing, accountability to a process that will make everyone a better worker is quite another. Whether it’s a simple email of deliverables or a progress report every month or so (no matter how informal) have them take charge of being accountable.

5. Don’t Lose Your Head When Things Go Wrong

You don’t have to coddle your employees, but you still need to hold them accountable for failures. When you discuss goal problems, make sure you focus on what went wrong, instead of who was wrong. You’re both adults, and you both want success for the company. Instead of dwelling on the failure, work to come up with solutions for future projects.

Your response may also affect future goals. Blowing up over failures does nothing but inspire fear in workers, and fear is not the motivator it was once thought to be. A fearful work atmosphere can lead to faster burnout, employee withdrawal, and higher turnover rates. Keep your cool, and keep your employees.

Tip: Try to avoid reaching out about a performance issue until you have a solution (or two) in mind. First, mitigate the issue (fix it in the short term), then have a sit down with the employee to discuss how they will handle it differently next time. In this way, your employees will know you have their back when the chips fall. Fix your performance issues and engender loyalty at the same time!

Effective goal setting is the best way to achieve your business’s dreams. Use these 5 tips to help you and your team get on the right track to a brighter future. If you need some more help with tracking, contact us and we’ll get you the tools you need!

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