Goal Setting: A Managers Role vs. the Employee's Role "How do you get your employees to perform better?"Are your employees focused, motivated, organized and driven?"What goals have been established for your employees?" These are a few of the many questions I asked to multiple managers within the company that I work for. Being a relatively new employee, working there for a little over a year, I wanted to ask these questions. Not to see how different managers felt about specific employees, but to get an overall view of how their jobs as managers directly affected each and everyone's job performance. Management is a science of how an individual works with a group of people, oversees their performance, and tries to effectively and efficiently get them to exceed the goals set forth by the company. It is a science that has guidelines and rules to follow, but varies from one employee to the next.

There are four basic pillars to success when it comes to managing your employees: plan, organize, direct, and monitor. These pillars can be incorporated into many different aspects of management, but no other aspect is more important than that of goal setting. Management starts with planning, and good planning starts with the formation of goals. Without a proper plan in place the achievement of goals will never come and if they do they won't be repeatable. An effective manager will figure out what the goal is and then figure out the best possible way to achieve the goal. I asked our sales manager late last week (Hodson, Len Personal Interview, May 10, 2005), "Would you agree that planning is the first step in forming goals?" He answered:" I would have to agree.

Planning is a very important part of goal setting, if not the most important. If you don't have a good plan of attack and knowledge of company direction, you won't succeed in setting forth either obtainable or stretch goals for your employees." Once you have a plan the next step is to organize everything you need to execute your plan and prepare your employees for the goals you have established for them. As a manager you have to ask yourself, are your employees prepared to do their part in order to accomplish the goals that you have set forth for them? If you answer yes to this then it is important to relay these goals to them and ensure that they are properly informed and understand the goals they are required to achieve. I asked our tech. manager if he covers all bases before he relays any goals to his employees (Rogers, Stan Personal Interview May 10, 2005). He then answered:" In order for me to properly prepare any of my employees for their monthly goals I have to go over all of the information multiple times before I can effectively relay the message to them.

Otherwise, if I'm not organized, they won't be organized out on the job and in the office." Pillar three, direct is next. This is where the manager simply flips on the switch and turns on the lights for the employees. They are given the goals that have been established for them and have been released. It is now up to the employees to take the information that they were given and effectively and efficiently perform their duties to the best of their abilities.

Our internet services manager said it best by saying (Brown, Phil Personal Interview, May 15, 2005):" Direction is the essence of goal setting. What path will your employees travel down if not directed down the right path? Some will meet their goals but more times most of them will head for the light and never reach it. If the manager does in fact divulge all of the necessary information, they will see that overall job performance will remain high and the employees will be better equipped to meet their goals." Now that the employees have all of the information that they need and they are off and running, the manager must now monitor their performance. Managers must make sure that everything is going according to the plan. When it isn't going as planned, the manager must step in and adjust the plan. They have to always be aware of what's going on so that they can make the adjustments that are required.

This is a continual process that stays intact for as long as the goals are being implemented. Once the goals have changed, the four pillars of goal setting for a manager must be reshaped. With goals set forth and employees on the move it is important once again to do some investigating. We already looked at ways managers go through their goal setting process. Let's now enter into the realm of how the employee motivates themselves in their goal setting adventure.

It is said that many top performers have one thing in common; they set clear, actionable goals and stay focused on them. While most people understand the importance of goals, the most effective take an extra step of writing down their goals and steps to achieve them. This is important because, ultimately, reflecting on why they hope to achieve their goals, rather than simply knowing what their goals are, is what motivates them to pursue their given goals. Take a page from the top-performer playbook and create your own SMART goals.

The letters can stand for various words, but one popular interpretation is: S = Specific M = Measurable A = Attainable R = Relevant T = Time-Bound A simple yet effective way of setting and monitoring goals is by using the SMART goal structure. The SMART goal structure is a proven method to create a goal that is reasonable and easy to follow. (S = Specific) Goals cannot be general, they need to focus on explicit objectives you want to achieve and should include as much detail regarding that objective as possible. One way of doing so is by creating a compiled list of your long-term and short-term goals. Look at these as you might a project plan, with each element having a specific outcome and deadline. (M = Measurable) A good goal is both specific and measurable.

A quantified goal lets you know if you are on track or if you need to make adjustments to reach your target. The employee should make sure that they do not set their goals too far out of reach. The success of reaching a goal will inspire the employee to do even better, while failing to meet an unrealistic goal will be disruptive and will make them less inclined to set goals next time. (A = Attainable) When setting a goal the employee should ask themselves, "Am I going to achieve this goal?"What steps do I need to take?" Assessing these issues will become the basis for the action plan to realize your goals.

The goal would be challenging but at the same time be attainable. (R = Relevant) This is a crucial step in the formation of goals. Here lies the step in which the employee develops their goals to be fundamentally relative to overall business success. The employee must believe that their goals are worthwhile.

Before the employee commits to the goal, they should check its value against the goals set forth by the company. (T = Time Bound) Set an attainable, yet challenging deadline for each goal and check your progress at intervals to gauge your success. An easier way to do such is by finding ways to break up your deadlines to make them easier to reach. This can help both the employee's goal setting and the manager's time management skills..