All goals are not created equally. And no two employees are the same. So how do you establish goals that both challenge an employee and motivate them?
When creating goals for your staff, go further than just making them SMART goals – consider their DiSC style and what drives them, as you create goals this year.
The SMART acronym is a well-known, and helpful guideline when writing performance goals for employees: specific, measurable, attainable, results-focused and time-related. However, how an employee interprets the goal will determine just how smart it is!
Think about one of your staff – is she excited by challenging assignments? Does she enjoy taking risks? Is she looking for ground-breaking achievements? Or does she prefer to take a more measured approach? More conservative in her methods, seeking more predictable outcomes, feeling defeated if she doesn’t accomplish a goal? These are significant differences in how a person will respond to the goals you establish.
For the person who likes to “push the envelope” and is easily bored in routine work – likely a D or i in their DiSC style – make sure their goals match this level of excitement. If goals seem too mundane this person will respond in kind – uninterested and stagnant. While these goals may be viewed as unrealistic or unattainable by some – those who are driven by action will be “charged up” and excited by the potential of what they can accomplish.
And for others – consider just the opposite. This same goal could be demotivating. If a goal seems unrealistic, or unattainable, your team member may feel frustrated at the on-set. People who work at a more measured pace – looking to make improvements through more proven methods – likely an S or C in their DiSC style – respond better to goals that are realistic and attainable. These individuals need goals that they can be certain of achieving – and even surpassing – often pushing themselves to accomplish more.
Of course how regularly you revisit any goal – discussing progress – and supporting its advancement – will make the biggest difference in a goal being achieved or not. Make sure goals don’t get hidden away until next year’s performance review. Regularly engage each employee in talking about their progress – and then adjust goals as needed along the way.
Your on-going conversations with your team members about their work towards any goals is the single most important factor in whether or not they will move forward.
Remember – your job is to make each of your team members’ successful at their job!
Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers
- Make a list of your team members. Next to each name indicate whether they 1) prefer to be stretched by what may seem as unrealistic, or 2) prefer to be supported and encouraged to achieve great things?
- How can you customize your approach to goal setting to meet each employee’s needs?
- How frequently do you discuss each team members’ progress towards their goals in their language of stretching or encouraging/supporting and adjusting as needed?