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What Are Some Good Performance Goals to Set For Managers? - HRDQ

What Are Some Good Performance Goals to Set For Managers?

An essential part of a productive office is setting realistic and attainable performance goals for managers. How a team performs can be significantly impacted by the performance of managerial professionals, as they provide a bridge between the employees on the front-line and senior management.

The key to creating good performance goals is aiming high but also ensuring that they are achievable. This can also be very motivating to the teams working underneath the managers, as it can positively impact their leadership and overall morale in the office.

What are some realistic performance goals you can set for managers that help to encourage continuing growth? Let's look at some examples of good goals that benefit your team of managers, the teams they work with, and the organization as a whole.

Communication Performance Goals

Communication is vital in any workplace. When your organization implements effective communication strategies, it can help to boost employee engagement, morale, satisfaction, productivity, and conflict resolution skills. Beyond that, it helps to promote trust, team member loyalty, and can help fuel innovation in the workplace.

For managers, building good communication skills can have short- and long-term benefits that profoundly impact the health and growth of your organization. When a manager knows how to communicate with their team and senior management effectively, there are fewer misunderstandings and a more efficient work process.

Communication Performance Goals

Here are some examples of communication goals that you might consider setting for managers depending on the current needs of your company:

  • Engage in regular, honest, and open communication to build trust.
  • Cultivate a culture of information sharing and openness.
  • Offer praise and recognition when employees do a good job while offering concise and constructive feedback when there are issues to deal with.
  • Build an inclusive work environment that encourages employees to offer their points of view and suggestions.
  • Increase self-awareness of one's communication style and learn to become more flexible in applying different communication styles to different situations.

Conflict Resolution Goals

Conflict is inevitable in any workplace, and conflict management and resolution are essential parts of a managerial role. By some estimates, managers spend a quarter of their time at work helping to resolve workplace conflicts. When conflict is allowed to run rampant in an organization without being dealt with, it can lead to increased absenteeism, lowered morale, and decreased productivity.

Many factors can lead to conflict in the workplace, including everything from compensation issues and performance discrepancies to jealousy and competitive tensions.

Learning to effectively and efficiently resolve conflicts in the workplace can help keep the culture happy and healthy while also ensuring that more productivity isn't lost than necessary.

Conflict Resolution Goals

Here are some goals you might consider setting for managers in the realm of conflict resolution:

  • Nip conflicts in the bud: Set up a meeting with involved parties right away when you notice a conflict developing rather than waiting for the problem to become much larger.
  • Deliberately work on developing a conflict resolution strategy that involves helping employees break down the issues into parts and identifying where they do agree.
  • Avoiding taking sides and remaining objective and professional.
  • Teaching employees conflict resolution skills so they can better deal with disagreements without needing to involve management.
  • Organizing and initiating team building and social activities for the team to increase team bonding and reduce the occurrence of conflicts.

Hiring and Retention Performance Goals

If you are setting goals for your hiring manager or your managerial team is responsible for hiring new team members in your organization, it's also a good idea to set performance goals related to both hiring and retention.

Successful hiring involves constantly being on the lookout for new talent, setting up foolproof systems for recruitment and onboarding, using the right channels to search for potential candidates, and much more.

At the same time, retaining high-quality employees involves a network of managerial skills and responsibilities, including creating a positive and supportive workplace culture, earning the trust of employees, providing proper training and development opportunities, and so much more.

Setting Hiring and Retention Goals

Some good examples of hiring and retention performance goals for your managers include:

  • Finding ways to reduce turnover in the department and implementing that strategy.
  • Developing profiles for ideal candidates when hiring for a position.
  • Ensuring compliance with all legal aspects of hiring, including never taking notes or making decisions based on a person's identity in a protected class.
  • Aiming to promote internally when possible.
  • Track and analyze data regarding the reasons for employee turnover.
  • Create a system for the interview process that involves a well-rounded set of questions to ask potential applicants and a process for making hiring decisions.

Creativity Goals

If you ask your managers to adopt a transactional leadership style in the workplace, setting creativity goals might not be your first priority. However, if you encourage a transformational leadership style or otherwise believe in the merits of creativity and innovation in the workplace, setting performance goals related to creativity and innovation can be worthwhile.

When you want your organization to succeed, grow, and thrive, it can be tempting to always be focusing on productivity, volume, and numbers. However, there is a tremendous opportunity for innovation when managers and their employees are allowed the freedom to experiment with projects and ideas that are a bit off the beaten track.

In fact, the parent company of Google, Alphabet, encourages their employees to spend twenty percent of their time working on projects that could potentially reveal big opportunities in the long run, even if they might not turn an immediate profit.

Setting Workplace Creativity Goals

Even if you don't feel that you can dedicate this much of your company's time to creativity and innovation, there is typically a lot of room for growth when it comes to setting and meeting creativity goals in the workplace. Here are some examples:

  • Holding a specific number of workshops, sessions, and activities per quarter aimed at boosting creativity and brainstorming innovative ideas.
  • Cultivating an environment where reasonable risks are encouraged.
  • Encouraging collaboration between individuals and teams.
  • Consistently brainstorming new and innovative ways to decrease costs, increase revenue, and save time.
  • Holding sessions where creative ideas are turned into potentially workable solutions that could benefit the business.
  • Identifying areas where improvements could be made and allowing space to consider innovative ideas as solutions.
  • Specifically encouraging employees to build their creative and problem-solving skills through workshops, lessons, and activities.
  • Rewarding employees that have creative ideas even when they aren't workable promotes innovation and creativity in the workplace.

Volume and Productivity Performance Goals

Of course, an essential aspect of your managerial team's role is ensuring that the employees they manage meet or exceed the goals set for productivity and volume. At the end of the day, the work of the employees in any organization will determine the success of that organization.

Performance goals in this category can incorporate profitability, efficiency, employee well-being, employee engagement, workplace morale, customer satisfaction, and more. These goals should be fit to the department of each manager to ensure that they align with the larger purposes of the business.

Managers Discussing Productivity Goals

What are some goals you can set for managers that will be beneficial to both front-line employees and senior management?

  • Clearly communicating the metrics through which employee performance is judged and measured.
  • Tracking and analyzing the way that employee time is spent.
  • Increase the number of sales, positive customer reviews, or total revenue within a specific time frame.
  • Encouraging employee development by implementing training and educational programs.
  • Measuring and tracking employee well-being, engagement, and morale in relation to productivity numbers.
  • Provide timely feedback to employees regarding objective job performance standards.

Leadership Performance Goals

The best managers are constantly honing their leadership skills, so even the most senior managers can benefit from leadership performance goals. Once managers understand their preferred leadership style, they are even better equipped to motivate and encourage employees to do their best work in the office.

Setting Leadership Performance Goals

There are countless leadership goals you can set for managers to help them continue to improve their ability to draw out the best performance from employees and create a supportive and productive work environment, including:

  • Focusing on open and honest communication to build trust with the team.
  • Using stretch goals to boost both motivation and performance.
  • Rewarding and celebrating successes while using mistakes as learning opportunities.
  • Effectively and clearly communicating goals and measures to team members.
  • Engaging in leadership development courses to further improve leadership skills.
  • Creating a supportive work environment that allows employees to do their best work.
  • Building an environment where employees are encouraged to learn and develop.

Teamwork Goals

One of the challenges of being a manager is bringing a diverse group of people with different backgrounds, beliefs, skill sets, and personalities together to work toward a common goal. This is no easy task, but when it is accomplished, your organization can save time and allow each team member to have more energy to focus on their part of any given project.

Cultivating a culture of teamwork helps create group cohesion where individuals are much more likely to apply their efforts for the benefit of the company and is, therefore, essential to business success. On top of that, it can create more learning opportunities within teams, allow managers to interfere less often, create stronger working relationships, provide for healthy competition, and improve efficiency, to name a few benefits.

Teamwork in the Workplace

Some teamwork goals you might set for managers include:

  • Developing and instituting a certain number of team-building activities each quarter and incorporating regular initiatives to boost teamwork.
  • Working to create a cohesive team between themselves and other managers to help the organization function as a holistic unit working towards the same central goal.
  • Delegating a specific number of group projects each month or quarter to ensure that the department benefits from the power of teamwork.
  • Organizing and scheduling social activities for teams to ensure they have ample time to get to know each other and bond as a team.

FAQ About Performance Goals

When there are clear goals for managers, they know exactly what they should be focusing on when it comes to leading their team. That also helps them set goals for their employees, which has the potential to boost your business's bottom line.

Setting Manager Performance Goals

Let's look at some other frequently asked questions about performance goals for managers.

Are Performance Goals and Development Goals the Same Thing?

Development goals are set by employees based on what they want to accomplish in their careers. On the other hand, performance goals are set by employers for their employees.

Team Setting Development Goals

For instance, an employee might set a development goal that has to do with learning a new skill or diving deeper into a topic they are already somewhat knowledgeable on.

Are Performance Goals and Learning Goals the Same Thing?

Typically, experienced employees have performance goals set for them by the person they report to while learning goals are set for inexperienced or new employees.

Manager Setting Learning Goals

As an example, a brand new hire might be faced with achieving certain learning goals in relation to learning specific software or skills before being able to help meet performance goals set by their managers.

How Can Performance Goals Be Measured?

When a performance goal is set for an employee, whether they are a front-line worker or a manager, the best way to measure them is by gathering data that helps quantify whether the goal is being met. For some performance goals, determining the proper metrics to use is simple.

Measuring Performance Goals

For example, if you are striving to achieve a performance goal of selling a certain number of units within the month, this is a relatively simple thing to measure. Less quantifiable goals like creating a supportive culture or communicating honestly with employees might rely on tools like surveys to gather the necessary data.

Take Your Managerial Team to the Next Level

At HRDQ, we offer a wide selection of tools, assessments, and workshops you can use to help your managerial team be as successful as possible in their roles.

A Managerial Team

If you're interested in helping your managers understand their leadership style so they can learn how best to communicate and lead different team members, What's My Leadership Style is the perfect tool for the job. This tool is an excellent way for people to gain awareness of their leadership style, learn about other leadership styles, and work toward flexing their personal style to fit different situations.

Do you have any questions about anything we mentioned in this article or anything similar? If so, please don't hesitate to leave us a comment; we'll be sure to get back to you within a day or two! We make it a point to reply to every comment and question we receive, and we'd be more than happy to answer any of your questions. 

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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.