Why Goal Setting is Crucial for Leadership

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Harvard Business conducted a study about goal setting that turned up some astounding results – 83 percent of people do not have goals. This may not surprise you if you talk to your family, friends, and coworkers; it seems people gave up on goal setting years ago. But, what should surprise you is the difference between those who set goals and those who don’t. According to this information, 14 percent of people that don’t have written goals do have a general plan in mind of what they want to accomplish. These people are 10 times more successful than the 83 percent. On top of that, the remaining 3 percent that do write their goals down are 3 times more successful than the 14 percent.

A leaders number one responsibility is to make sure that their team has the resources that they need. And, the number one resource that a team needs is clarity of the goal. Providing your team with clear SMART goals makes all the difference for the following reasons:

1. Goal setting allows everyone to align directionally

Without clear goals, your team might be working hard, but they are unsure if they are working on the right things Different departments might have established their own goals, but if each person within an organization doesn’t know what the overall goal is, the company will end up in a million different directions and going nowhere.

When a leader steps in and provides the company with clear goals, each individual person and department is able to align their work and goals with the bigger picture goals. This is when true progress starts to happen.

2. Goal setting encourages buy-in of all resources

When the number one resource, clarity of the goal, is provided to employees the rest of the resources available are properly taken advantage of. The team can see what resources are available and then allocate them as needed. These resources, which may have been overlooked or forgotten, are then able to be put to work in order to support the overall goals. All resources will be in use to help the team reach their goals.

3. Goal setting provides an opportunity for feedback

When the goals are clear it opens the opportunity for honest and direct feedback with an organization. Having set goals allows each person to see what progress is being made. It also allows each person to see what isn’t working. It creates the opportunity for dialog between departments and team members. Clear goals help there to be effective feedback based on fact instead of opinion.

The use of both positive and negative feedback encourages the following:

  • Helps team members maximize their potential
  • Raises awareness within an organization
  • Help team members Improve upon strengths
  • Builds stronger relationships within the team

4. Goal setting allows for comprehensive planning

It is impossible to establish a comprehensive plan without goals. Once the team knows what they are working towards a plan can be established to get there. Planning becomes purposeful with goals in place. Leaders are able to bring teams together to determine the best way to reach those goals.

When planning each decision to be made can be weighed against the goals. The team can then ask “will this move us closer to goal?”. If not, they are able to create a plan that will.

5. Goal setting allows for realignment

With goals in place, the team can determine if they are moving in the right direction. If they are not the goals can help them to realign their plan. Goals should not be set and forgotten. Progress should be monitored on a regular basis. This allows the team to come together and celebrate success. It also allows the team to spot areas that they are failing in. Then, they can see what necessary changes need to be made. Without clear goals in place, this process cannot happen.

When a leader provides their team with clear goals they lead them to success. Goal setting and monitoring of the goals, helps create a culture of success within an organization. People want to be a part of something greater. When each member of your team understands how their work helps the company achieve the bigger goals they can easily see the purpose in what they are doing. In turn, this makes people want to follow you because you are a great leader.

If you are ready to learn the skills of SMART goal setting and planning contact SPEARity™, a local Milwaukee leadership coaching firm that specializes in business coaching, executive coaching, and leadership development training.


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