Put faith in worthy goals

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

You set goals for your employees and map steps they can take to achieve them. You also listen to your team and choose goals accordingly.

But even if you gain their buy-in and support their efforts in goal attainment, there's often a critical missing piece: Do your workers think they can reach the goal?

If people privately doubt their ability to follow through—or they lack the necessary tools, desire or work ethic—then the whole goal-setting process can prove a waste.

Staffers may pay lip service to your targets without seriously attempting to hit them. Top achievers start with a core confidence that they'll meet or exceed the goal. Mediocre performers, by contrast, decide from the outset what they can and cannot achieve.

The same goes for students. In a 2010 Gallup survey of 642 students between ages 10 and 18, only 42 percent said they were energetically pursuing their goals and only 35 percent strongly believed they could overcome obstacles to their goals.

Whether the majority of students doubted their abilities, felt apathetic or ignored their teachers, the real issue is disengagement. Your employees need to care about the goals and accept a sense of responsibility for giving their best shot.

The next time you prepare to announce production goals, start by asking each staffer, "Do you think you can attain this goal in the time frame we've set?" Ideally, you want employees either to say yes or share their concerns and even acknowledge their limitations. That can open the door to a more honest conversation about reasonable performance expectations.

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