When you’re a small business owner, chances are you have your fingers in almost every pie. From sourcing products to marketing and accounting, it’s unlikely you have time to delegate these roles to someone else.
That’s why so many successful entrepreneurs appoint themselves as their own managers.
However, this is also the very reason that small business owners need to create SMART goals for their managers.
If a manager working under you isn’t your employee but rather someone you appoint yourself, then it’s even more important to ensure they have clear objectives so they know what they’re supposed to be achieved on a day-to-day basis.
If you’re a manager, you know that setting and achieving goals is essential to your success. But what are the best ways to set goals that will help you achieve your objectives?
What are SMART Goals?
Smart goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. They are designed to help you achieve your objectives and improve your performance.
For example, a regular goal might be to “improve productivity.” While this is an important objective, it’s not specific enough to be a smart goal.
A smart goal would be to “increase productivity by 20% by the end of the quarter.”
SMART goals are often used in businesses to help managers set and track progress towards specific objectives.
When setting a SMART goal, it is important to keep the following in mind:
S – Specific: The goal should be clear and specific.
M – Measurable: The goal should be able to be measured.
A – Attainable: The goal should be achievable.
R – Realistic: The goal should be realistic and achievable given the resources available.
T – Time-Based: The goal should have a deadline for completion.
Another example could be, a SMART goal for a manager might be “to increase sales by 10% within the next quarter.”
This goal is specific (increase sales), measurable (by 10%), attainable (within the next quarter), realistic (given resources available), and time-based (next quarter).
Setting SMART goals can help managers achieve their objectives by providing a clear roadmap for success.
By breaking down goals into smaller, more manageable pieces, managers can more easily track progress and identify areas of improvement.
What are the components of a SMART goal?
When it comes to goal setting, managers need to think SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Let’s break down each component of a SMART goal so you can start setting goals that will help you achieve success.
Specific: A specific goal is one that is clear and well-defined. When setting a specific goal, be sure to answer the who, what, when, where, and why questions.
Measurable: A measurable goal is one that can be quantified so you can track your progress. When setting a measurable goal, ask yourself how you will know when you’ve achieved it.
Achievable: An achievable goal is one that is realistic given your current circumstances. When setting an achievable goal, make sure it’s something you can actually accomplish.
Relevant: A relevant goal is one that aligns with your overall objectives. When setting a relevant goal, ask yourself if it’s something that will help you achieve your long-term vision.
Time-Bound: A time-bound goal is one that has a deadline associated with it. When setting a time-bound goal, be sure to pick a date
How to Set Smart Goals for Managers
Setting SMART goals and strategies will help your management skills grow for a smoother and more successful future in the workforce.
Setting goals is a critical part of any manager’s job. But not all goals are created equal. In order to be effective, goals must be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Creating SMART goals may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
By breaking down the process into smaller steps, you can set SMART goals that will help you and your team achieve success.
- Set specific goals. When setting goals, be specific about what you want to achieve. Don’t just say “I want to be more productive.” Say “I want to increase my productivity by 20% by the end of the quarter.”
- Make sure your goals are measurable. Your goals should be measurable so that you can track your progress and ensure that you are on track to achieve them.
- Make sure your goals are achievable. Your goals should be achievable so that you don’t set yourself up for disappointment. They should be challenging, but still within the realm of possibility.
- Make sure your goals are relevant. Your goals should be relevant to your business and your objectives.
- Make sure your goals are time-bound.Your goals should have a specific deadline attached to them. This will help you stay focused and ensure that you are making progress.
- Make sure your goals are specific. Your goals should be specific and measurable. This will help you track your progress and ensure that you are on track.
- Make a plan. Once you have set your goals, it is important to create a plan of action. This will help you stay on track and achieve your goals.
The steps you need to take to achieve your goals may vary depending on the nature of your goals.
Here are some examples of SMART goals for managers:
- Increase sales by 10% within the next quarter.
- Reduce costs by 5% within the next year.
- Improve customer satisfaction scores by 2% within the next month.
- Develop and implement a new marketing campaign within the next six months.
- Launch a new product or service within the next year.
However, there are some general steps that can be helpful for most goals :
- Define what you need to do to achieve your goal.
- Create a timeline for achieving your goal.
- Set milestones for yourself to track your progress.
- Take action towards achieving your goal.
- Celebrate your success!
What Strategy To Use To Set Your SMART Goals For Managers?
There are several strategies that people use to set their goals. Some people prefer to brainstorm ideas before choosing a goal.
Others prefer to choose a goal based on their values. Still, others prefer to make a list of their goals and select only those that they think are achievable.
Regardless of the strategy used, there are two key components to goal setting: clarity and specificity.
Clarity means that your goal needs to be precise. If you say “I want to get fit,” then you might find yourself doing lots of different things but not getting anywhere.
On the other hand, if you say “I’m going to exercise at least twice per week,” then you can be confident that you’ll achieve this goal.
Specificity refers to the level of detail in your goal. For example, if you’re aiming to lose weight, you should specify whether you want to lose 10 pounds, 20 pounds, 30 pounds, etc.
When you write down your goal, try to include as many details as possible so that you can track your progress easily.
Why SMART Goal-setting Is Important?
Setting goals is important because it gives you focus and direction. Without goals, you could spend years trying to figure out what you really want to do.
Setting goals also helps you stay motivated. The more focused you are on a particular task, the easier it is to complete. And once you finish, you’ll feel proud of yourself.
The importance of goal setting has been widely recognized in the literature. In fact, it was one of the first concepts to be incorporated into the ACT framework (Lambert et al., ).
Goal setting is a process that involves three steps:
1. Identifying your goal(s). This step includes defining your goal, deciding which goal(s) you would like to pursue, and selecting the most appropriate goal(s).
2. Formulating your goal. This step involves writing down your goal and making sure that it is clear and measurable.
3. Tracking your progress. This step involves measuring your progress toward your goal.
Tips For Setting Your SMART Goals As A Manager
Setting goals is an important part of any manager’s job. But, it’s not always easy to know how to set effective goals.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when setting goals for your team:
- Make sure your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
- Involve your team in setting goals. This will help them buy-in to the goals and be more committed to achieving them.
- Make sure your goals are challenging, but also achievable. You don’t want to set goals that are so difficult that they’re impossible to reach. But, you also don’t want to set goals that are too easy. Stretch your team, but don’t overwhelm them.
- Set goals that are aligned with your company’s mission and vision. This will help ensure that your team is working toward the right things.
- Communicate your goals to your team frequently. This will help everyone stay on track and focused on achieving the goals.
By following these tips, you can set effective goals that will help your team be successful.
How To Develop Yourself As a Manager Towards Your Goals?
The first step in any professional development plan is to identify what you want to achieve. This can be challenging, especially if you’re not sure where to start.
The good news is that there are many ways to develop yourself professionally and personally. You just need to decide which ones will help you grow the most.
Here are some suggestions for developing yourself as a manager:
Developing Your Leadership Skills
Leadership skills are essential for managers. They enable you to influence others and lead by example. Here are some leadership skills that you can build upon:
- Communicate effectively: Make sure that you communicate clearly with your team members. Do not expect them to read between the lines or guess what you mean. Be specific about your expectations. Also, do not assume that everyone knows what you know. Explain your reasoning behind decisions.
- Set an example: Show your team members how to behave properly. Model the behaviors that you want them to exhibit. Demonstrate the desired behavior yourself.
- Provide feedback: Listen carefully to what your team members have to say. When you provide feedback, focus on helping them improve rather than criticizing them.
- Motivate your team: Find out what motivates each member of your team. Then, determine how you can motivate them.
- Develop relationships: Build strong working relationships with your team members. Create opportunities for them to share their opinions and ask questions.
- Plan ahead: Prepare for meetings well in advance. Think through your presentation and consider what information you will need to convey.
- Take initiative: Ask your team members for assistance when needed. Don’t wait for someone else to take action.
Developing Yourself As A Manager
Managing your own performance is one of the best ways to learn more about managing others. It also helps you understand the impact that your actions have on others.
Here are some tips for improving your management skills:
- Focus on results: Know what you want before you begin. Keep your goals realistic and measurable.
- Delegate task: Let your team members handle certain responsibilities instead of taking over everything themselves.
- Learn from mistakes: Identify areas where you made mistakes and correct them.
- Empower your team: Give your team members responsibility and authority.
- Encourage teamwork: Recognize your team’s efforts and encourage them to work together.
- Follow up : Stay in touch with your team members after they complete assignments.
- Get support: Seek advice from people who are knowledgeable about your area of expertise.
- Evaluate progress: Look at your team’s performance periodically. Determine whether it has improved and made adjustments accordingly.
- Celebrate success: Reward your team members for outstanding achievements.
- Use technology: Invest in new technologies such as email, instant messaging, web conferencing, video teleconferencing, etc.
- Network: Join organizations that interest you. Attend conferences and trade shows.
- Volunteer: Help others and give back to society.
Developing Yourself As a Marketing Manager
The marketing manager is responsible for developing a comprehensive plan to promote the company’s products and services.
The marketing manager must be able to develop and implement effective strategies to increase sales and profits.
He/she should possess excellent communication skills and be familiar with all aspects of the business. In addition, he/she should be creative and innovative.
A marketing manager works closely with other managers within his or her organization to create and maintain a positive image of the company.
This includes promoting the company’s name and products to potential customers, employees, and the general public.
A marketing manager is usually assigned to a specific department within an organization. His/her primary job is to ensure that the department meets its objectives.
However, the marketing manager may be required to oversee several departments. For example, a marketing manager might coordinate advertising campaigns for both the company’s home office and retail stores.
In order to effectively manage a large number of projects, a marketing manager needs strong organizational skills. He/she must keep track of deadlines, budgets, and costs while meeting customer expectations.
10 Professional Development Goals For Managers To Consider For SMART Goals
Conduct More Effective Meetings
Managers often hold one-on-one meetings with their staff, arrange team meetings and facilitate meetings between different groups.
Ask your managers to assess how well they hold meetings and attend some to perform their own assessments.
There are some ways you can encourage managers and employees to hold more effective meetings.
- Creating clear agendas
- Scheduling regular meetings
- Taking clear notes
- Determining action items
Having more effective meetings can improve employee morale by showing that you value their regular input.
Improve Your Coaching Skills
As an individual contributor, all that you need to do is improve yourself. As a leader, it’s important to not only grow your own skills but also grow your people. That’s why your managers must become coaches. They must be able to help
Some managers are naturally good at coaching their employees, while others need to learn how to coach. You want your employees’ success and eventual advancement to be a priority for them.
As managers learn to support employees through their challenges and recognize their strengths, this creates an environment that’ll be conducive to growth.
To improve your management skills, set measurable goals for yourself, like improved employee performance or increased profits.
It means being comfortable talking with people about their goals and helping them achieve those goals over time.
It means looking at their work and giving constructive feedback to improve, and praise to let them know that you want to see more from them.
The most important thing to remember is that if your team succeeds, you succeed too. If your team fails, it’s a bad sign for your company.
Becoming a great coach means not only boosting your team’s performance but also motivating them.
Practice Your listening techniques
Curiosity is a priceless skill for leaders because it helps them learn from their mistakes
By developing the skill to ask good questions, you’ll be able to uncover useful insights from your teammates that will help you lead them better, solve problems early, and learn what your teammates need most to succeed.
Active listening means being attentive to non-verbal cues, and asking clarifying questions when necessary.
Active listening skills help managers understand your requests, company’s goals and team needs.
As part of this project, have the manager paraphrase what his colleagues say at meetings or ask them to create lists of questions they might ask other people at meetings.
Active listening skills enable managers to build trust with their teams. This encourages more honest feedback from them, which can help them improve.
This really comes down to two things:
- Ask great questions: Curiosity isn’t passive. You need to ask great questions that help you explore a topic and uncover new insights. A good conversation in a one-on-one starts with asking the right questions.
- Listening to what others have to say: No matter how important what others have to say is, you must first listen to them. True listening means paying full attention to the person who is talking and asking genuine follow- up questions to clarify their point.
Work On your persuasion skills
Managers may need decide how their teams should deal with certain situations which require additional resources, team morale or help from other departments.
This can involve an understanding of larger company goals and the ways in which a manager’s solutions can support them.
To develop these skills you need to practice them. Try having the manager evaluate their communication and preparation skills.
Getting support from colleagues and teams involves convincing them to agree with your plans and understanding their clear goals.
You might consider having your manager pitch solutions to a problem and providing feedback about how they could be more persuasive.
Learn To Manage Your Energy
Similarly, as a leader, one of the ways you can affect your team is by affecting your own mood.
If you’re stressed out, your whole team will notice those subtle signs you’re giving off and start feeling stressed out, too.
This goes for every emotional state, from positive emotions like excitement, and negative ones, too. Unfortunately.
It’s important to teach your managers to take care themselves because they’re going to be doing this job for a long time.
As a manager, it’s easy to get into reactive management mode, only hearing about problems once they’ve already caused a major problem.
When your week looks like this, you don’t give yourself time to relax and take a break. You lose that crucial time to map out the vision for your team, including:
- Future projects and goals
- Moments when you see something that helps you better understand a problem.
- Changes to team structure or processes
- If you’re a founder/ CEO or department head, larger business decisions require more time and effort than smaller ones.
Leadership requires looking ahead, anticipating change, and making proactive adjustments to stay competitive.
To do that, you need to create some space for yourself to sit back and think about it. It also means getting some perspective and distance from potential negative initial reactions and emotions.
Improve team productivity
Managers often include performance goals as part of their official objectives. As a development goal for your team, you might suggest how they set and communicate their goals and track progress.
This may include a detailed assessment of each employee’s productivity.
Regular status meetings can ensure that managers are reviewing their teams’ progress frequently and asking questions so they have the tools needed for increased productivity.
You might measure this progress by reviewing trends in productivity. If these trends show improvement, then you know you’re making progress.
Developing The Ability To Identify future leaders
A good manager who develops his/her skills eventually has too big of a team to manage himself/herself.
If that happens, then you need to start developing your own leaders. Ideally, you should be doing this well before you hit that wall.
It all depends on how your business is run, but if you’re in control, it’s a great way to promote your product or service from within.
There is risk, but great rewards, from promoting employees who already know your business, your values, and most likely many of the people they’ll be leading.
Luckily, much of the risk associated with promoting from within can be prevented or mitigated. Common mistakes when promoting from within into your manager’s team include:
- Promoting based on individuals’ abilities, not their leadership skills
- Not having regular one on ones with those managers who need support
- Failing to provide management training before they become managers
Once you feel a coach you’re working with is ready to promote their first managers, set a goal with them for identifying a few people on his/her team as potential future leaders.
Ask them why they think this idea would be successful and then ask them to talk to each person individually to see if they’re willing to help.
Recognize Better mentorship opportunities
Mentoring, rather then managing, can help managers develop some important leadership skills like giving feedback and coaching without the formal responsibilities.
You can arrange for your manager to meet with the employee to hear their career aspirations and struggles, advise and help them through their career.
Include mentorship and coaching as part of your development goals for the manager and their teams, too.
Increase positivity In the Workspace
A development goal for your managers may be to increase the overall mood of a team.
Your manager could consider reviewing stress management techniques that they can practice and share with the rest of their team.
To be proactive rather than reactive, one way to do this is by taking action before something happens.
Being able to set goals and anticipate change or challenges can help managers keep their teams positive and focused. Positivity also includes taking breaks when employees feel stressed.
By encouraging honest feedback, your manager may develop skills needed to create a productive working environment.
Learn To Give More constructive feedback
Training employees to give them feedback that can improve their performances requires training.
Including this on a manager development plan helps managers review their current practices, provides you with an opportunity to review their methodologies, and can help you work with them to improve their effectiveness.
Consider when managers provide feedback, what they tell their employees and how their employees react. Here are some ways to improve in this aspect:
- Conversations around topics
- Asking questions about what’s going on
- Providing your feedback and ideas
- Considering the actions and outcomes rather than the characters involved
Practice Your motivational techniques
Managers motivate themselves by setting goals for themselves and their teams.
Ask your manager if he or she has ever assessed how they motivate their teams, and provide them feedback on ways they could improve in this area. Some ways for managers who want to improve their motivation include…
- Praising and encouraging people who perform exceptionally well
- Encouraging teams not to be afraid to make their own decisions
- Showing respect by accepting their methods and ideas
- Welcome feedback and criticism so we can improve our ideas and products.
- Encouraging employees to take time off and breaks
- Being fair to all employees and holding myself accountable
- Paying people who perform well
You may evaluate how effective this is through a follow-up assessment after some time and review productivity to see if there’s a correlation.
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Carol T. Mahaffey is a certified American Author And a creator of Theleaderboy. Carol is a Self-Taught Marketer with 10+ Years of Experience. She brings her decade of experience to her current role, where she is dedicated to writing books, blogs, and articles, inspiring the world on how to become a better Leader.