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Helping Employees set SMART Goals

A core piece of the Situational Leadership® II model is helping employees set SMART goals. Without goal setting, employees often don’t know what is expected of them. Whether you incorporate goal setting into an annual review or meet with team members weekly to discuss pressing tasks (a habit we strongly recommend that you establish), a consistent approach to goal setting is vital.

What’s the value of a goal?

Goals help direct our focus. They give us targets to aim for, and they make us accountable for what we’re able to accomplish. Without clear goals, it’s all too easy to lose motivation, get sidetracked, and feel discouraged because we don’t know what’s expected of us.

Setting SMART Goals

The SMART acronym has been broken down a few different ways, but this is how the term breaks down under the SLII® model:

S – Specific

This is the who, what, where, when, and why. A specific goal is actionable. It has limits. For example, “improving sales” isn’t specific; “increasing sales by 25% by year end 2018” is.

M – Motivating

A goal should get you excited. You don’t necessarily have to look forward to the work involved in achieving the goal, but you should feel positively challenged and energized by the prospect of achieving the goal.

A – Attainable

Setting goals that are too big is hugely demotivating and one of the main reasons why people fail to meet goals. The goal should be a challenge, but a reasonable one.

R – Relevant

The goal should have meaning for the person. Aiming for a target with no real purpose is a fool’s errand. The goal should be a real priority for the person to whom it is assigned.

T – Trackable

Most goals in the business world take time to achieve. When setting a SMART goal, it’s vital to set benchmarks along the way to track progress and course-correct if, and when necessary.

 Setting SMART Goals Together with Conversational Intelligence™

Workplace goal planning is often most effective when the goal is discussed and decided upon by both the leader and the employee. Goal setting conversations are a core part of the SLII® model, and the success of such conversations depends on using Conversational Intelligence™.

Conversational Intelligence™ is about establishing trust, forming real relationships, and understanding the other person in the conversation. To make your goal setting conversations with employees more productive and effective, try incorporating these principles of Conversational Intelligence™:

  • Be clear about the purpose of the conversation. When people don’t know what a conversation with their boss will entail, that can cause panic and/or stress. Come into the conversation with a clear objective and share that objective with your employee as early as possible.
  • Partner up. Don’t merely assign goals to your employees. Let them be an equal part of the conversation, sharing their personal goals and hopes for their role in the company.
  • Share. Don’t be afraid to reveal your thoughts and feelings, when appropriate. Making personal connections helps strengthen working relationships.
About Joy Ruhmann
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