Setting objectives for individual team members is often regarded by managers as an unnecessary and time-consuming task because by the time these are reviewed, usually once a year during the annual review, they are obsolete. They feel that people’s job descriptions, coupled with a chat during their annual appraisal, should be enough for them to know what needs doing .
The ability to set objectives effectively is, however, a valuable weapon in a manager’s armoury. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals help to keep people energised, focused on the right tasks and aligned to the overall business direction. As well as being SMART, the best objectives will take into account the skills and overall development needs of each individual for their career and stretch them as much as possible. Not only will these objectives be reached, the person will have grown in the process. Without these, they may never have gotten there or known they could!
Clear objectives, which are regularly reviewed, also help ensure teams are agile enough to respond to sudden market changes or shifts in internal priorities.
Here are five reasons why managers need to shift their mind-set and start to see objective setting as an integral part of the way they manage their teams.