New managers commonly get overwhelmed at the beginning of their new position. Managers are tasked with responsibility for large areas. Multiple skills come into play – coordination, critical thinking, decision-making, organization, communication, and a clear head. Managers need to balance team goals with their own deliverables.

Goal setting for managers

Scrambling to wear more hats than they are used to, managers can find it hard to set goals and chalk out plans to achieve them. Goal setting is an exercise that takes a back burner compared to all the other hair-on-fire tasks managers need to resolve. But there are lots of reasons to set goals instead of going with the flow. Goals boost accountability, improve performance, and channel energy. They give employees and managers and, by extension, the organization something to work towards.

Management by Objectives (MBO)

Management guru and consultant Peter Drucker brought this term into the common lingo of companies today. Management by Objectives (MBO) aims to align an organization’s behavior and actions towards a set of defined goals or objectives. MBO is underscored by the premise that goals make people’s behavior more productive and motivated than it otherwise would be. MBO is a system of productivity as well since it focuses on actions that move the needle. As a result, many non-essential activities are either cut out or delegated.

New managers or managers who have not set goals in their stint before may be wondering what goals to set. So, of all the things that a manager could be focusing on for their organization, which ones should they prioritize? In this article, we will be covering the top five goals for managers to prioritize setting in their organization.

Establish KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are measures that indicate whether you are achieving your strategic goals. Revenue, expenses, customers, etc., are examples of KPIs. Sometimes, your business does well but, without KPIs, you have no idea whether they are helping you achieve your long-term strategic goals. Therefore, you will need to get an understanding of the long-term strategic goals of the organization.

It would be a good idea to set targets for measures associated with departments and divisions of your organization. As a for-profit organization, your most important KPIs may be financial such as profitability or revenue. For some departments, you may choose non-financial KPIs like the number of customers served or time to issue resolution.

KPIs are not just for the customer-facing side of the business but also internal operations. KPIs can be used to measure productivity, performance, and engagement. The important thing is that KPIs align together to create a constellation that makes sense. Review KPIs to make sure that they link back and contribute to the overall strategy of the organization.

KPIs need to be periodically reviewed and monitored. Tracking KPIs will help managers change tacks and draw up new plans of action quickly if they find their current plans are not working. Spending time chasing pointless KPIs will cause inefficiencies in the organization. Managers also need to hold their team accountable to the KPIs and fix responsibility on individuals. Managers do not need to blame that person if KPIs do not turn out as planned. But they should be able to trust an individual to look after their specific area.

Consistent check-ins

A survey in the United States of 2000 managers found that almost 70% of them felt uncomfortable talking with their employees. We spend more waking hours per day with our teammates at work than we do with our family and friends. Yet, the majority of managers find it hard to form a connection with their employees. The feeling is mutual since employees often see their manager as a taskmaster or someone who holds them accountable. This dynamic is not always immediately conducive to companionship.

However, a Gallup scientist reported that of people who quit, 75% of them cited a factor within the control of management as the reason. It’s also noted that people tend to leave jobs in which they do not like their bosses. Employees do not typically speak up about their issues at work or difficulties they are facing. They fear retribution, a minimization of their problems, or that it would affect their performance appraisal on the job. Managers can minimize employee turnover by just leaving the metaphorical door open.

Creating an open culture is the first step towards developing stronger team bonds. However, shifts in culture take time, so the first step is to create a system. Set up a schedule for consistent check-ins with team members that are intended to support them, not assess them. Assure employees that the sessions are informal and meant to help improve their time on the job. They should remain separated from performance appraisals.

Track employee performance

Measuring the performance of your employees is vital to the success of the company. It can be eye-opening when it comes to people and whether the company’s strategy is working. First off, you need to communicate with employees to chalk out their roles. Sometimes, a lack of understanding of responsibilities can have employees under-performing. Towards these goals, managers should be active in measuring both short-term and long-term performance. Many online tools can help track employee performance against agreed-upon goals.

Managers should have frequent check-ins with employees. The purpose of these check-ins is manifold: coaching employees, emphasizing accountability, and tracking business performance. Tracking business performance is important. While team members may be productive, this productivity should be reflected in the bottom line. Another benefit of keeping your eye on the bottom line is a relinquishment of the urge to micromanage. When you have your eye on the big picture, you do not feel the need to control every little detail.

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Create a culture of gratitude

Creating a culture of appreciation can unlock compounding benefits that result from employees feeling seen and heard. Valuing individuals as human beings, in addition to acknowledging their role in the organization, is the foundation of a culture of gratitude. Appreciating people should be part of the company’s values. Employee appreciation will look different in different organizations. Making a habit of saying thank you and meaning it will make a difference.

As a manager, it is your responsibility to live by company values. A company should value its employees, as that is tied to the achievement of its long-term goals. Show gratitude for people’s work and highlight how they have helped the entire organization.

An idea to keep in mind is to celebrate the effort put in, not merely the results. There are many factors that explain why an outcome is not achieved or takes more time than expected. When you see your employees putting in hard work, pat them on the back for it. Bringing this up in front of the rest of the team will also elevate the employee, giving them a boost of confidence. Greater confidence will translate into better work output and productivity.


Giving feedback may seem like one of your core areas of challenge as a manager. Having discussions with people about their performance, you may be worried about their response and whether you are justified in giving that feedback. However, a study in 2014 by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman revealed that most people wanted constructive feedback. Most employees want to know what they can do to improve their performance.

Managers often make the mistake of focusing their feedback on certain individuals and not giving the top performers any feedback. It’s equally important to raise the expectations of top performers as well. As a manager, you are responsible for making sure your team is moving towards its goals. Poor communication can result in a team that is confused and going in many directions at once.

Schedule face-to-face sessions with team members to give feedback. In these sessions, give employees an opportunity to explain themselves in an informal setting. Frame your feedback in the context of a growth mindset over a fixed mindset. A growth mindset will enable you to provide constructive feedback and work with the teammate to form a plan to improve their performance.

Managers are responsible for giving their perspective on employees, but both manager and employee can work together on steps to improve. Ask them how they will achieve their goal and how you can help them get there. This will reinforce that you are open to getting them in their path.


As a new manager, these are the goals you might want to focus on to begin. This lays a solid foundation for your future managerial efforts in improving sales and building a cohesive team. TalenX can help you build a great team. Go to TalenX to learn how to simplify hiring by using organizational psychology. TalenX helps you find the right talent for your organization by finding people with the qualities and skills you need.

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