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Setting goals with your team, tips and tricks

Let's look at some tips and tricks for setting goals with your team.

- As a manager, you want to constantly be setting, and meeting, goals with the employee team underneath you. This will not only make you look good with your bosses; it'll make you closer to your employees, and make your work a whole lot easier.

- Now, the worst thing a manager can do when setting goals with employees is to make the employees feel as though the manager's shoving his or her goals down their throats. Does that make sense? In other words, the manager is obviously going to have some ideas about these goals going in. He or she is going to want his or her team to make certain goals and fulfill them-because the manager has bosses too. The thing the manager needs to remember is: his or her team is aware that he or she has bosses. If the teams feels as though the manager is forcing goals on them in order to impress his or her superiors, they'll quickly lose excitement.

- Setting goals with your team, then, is a matter of concentrating on that word-team. Setting team goals must be a matter of actually setting team goals-otherwise you may as well give up right now. Let's look at a scenario in which a manager (we'll call him Bob) ineffectively calls a team meeting to set team goals:

Bob: "All right, team, glad to see you've all made it. As many of you know, corporate's been breathing down my neck for us to up our sales by five percent this year. This puts me in quite a jam, as you can guess, and also my wife's nagging me all the time because if I can meet those numbers I get a nice, fat bonus at the end of the year. Therefore, boys and girls, I've set a new goal for us: to raise our sales by six percent this year: that'll really show 'em, huh?"

- It doesn't take a genius to see where Bob went wrong here. He called a meeting, he made himself and his future the center of the meeting, he degraded the employees by mentioning the bonus he stands to receive, and, not only did he not make raising sales by five percent a team goal, he actually upped the goal to six percent-again, to impress his bosses, employees be darned. Let's look at a scenario in which a manager (we'll call him Bill) effectively calls a team meeting to set goals.

Bill: "All right team, glad to see you've all made it. Help yourself to some pizza and root beer; that stuff's the best, try not to get addicted. OK, corporate has recently been badgering me to up our sales by five percent this year. As you know, this isn't an easy thing to do. I'd like, therefore, to hear your opinions on the matter: firstly, is raising our sales by any percentage even possible; secondly, what's a realistic number that we can all (if everybody agrees) shoot for; and thirdly, what kinds of rewards would you like to see come your way as a result of meeting these goals."

- Now, Bill didn't relinquish any authority in that scenario; he didn't badmouth corporate; he simply, as a member of the team, explained his predicament, asked for reactions, asked for the team to (if they thought it was possible) set some goals, and finally asked the team what sort of rewards they'd feel were fair should they meet their goals. This is a pretty basic outline for successfully setting goals with your team, but it'll work almost every time.

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