Managers: Setting Clear Objectives for Your Team

By The Intersect Group

Hello, new manager!!!

If you’re a newly minted manager, one of your goals is to become one someday soon. If you’ve been a manager for a few months or a couple of years, we understand that you probably have a lot of questions regarding how you can become a great manager.

As we mentioned in our first post in this series of tips for new managers, 9 Tips for First-Time Managers, the wisest thing you can do first is think about how you’re going to establish yourself as a leader.

This is not a one-and-done thing, of course: you’re going to be continually establishing your leadership position for as long as you’re in the role.

Yet as you do so, the next thing you definitely want to do is to set clear objectives for your team.


Everything your team does is based on the objectives you set

Whether your team succeeds or fails in projects, goals, etc.: it all starts with the objectives set by you, the manager.

So, no pressure!

But seriously, setting objectives and goals isn’t hard at all. If anything’s “difficult,” it’s ensuring that the objectives and goals are clear.

Here’s a goal example that needs clarity. It’s a good goal overall, it just needs to be more specific: “improve digital marketing results.”

All fine. “But,” say your team members under their breath, “what do you mean improve results? Which digital marketing results? How much improvement do you want?”

So a better goal would be to “increase qualified leads by 25 percent and generate 10 percent more revenue from those leads.”

That’s specific.

But it’s not specific enough: when do you want this goal reached. After all, “A goal without a deadline is just a dream.”

So a really good goal for your team is “increase qualified leads by 25 percent and generate 10 percent more revenue from those leads in six months.”

Now, that’s a solid, attainable goal!

Or is it?


Are your goals actually possible?

Although setting goals/objectives is important, they can wreak havoc on your team’s morale if they’re unattainable.

So before you can set goals, you’ve some research to conduct. Take a look at past results: how much has the department increased leads and revenue in the past? Does your goal appear to be too high (or even too low)?

The point is that before you can even start setting goals, you need to find out what’s happened in the past, how your team members felt about their results, how they feel about stretching themselves to reach a goal, if they have the tools to reach your desired goal, and so on.


Take your time setting your first department goals

Your first several weeks should be spent meeting with your new team members, asking about their work, what they want to accomplish, how they feel about projects in the past, etc.

Doing so accomplishes several things:

  • You’ll get to know your team members better.
  • You’ll get a sense of how they work, how they fit into the team, how they feel about their work, etc.
  • You’ll learn who has been the “pet” and the “goat” in the past. Who has a grudge against whom. Who feels slighted and ignored. Who is excited to work at the company. Who thinks of it more pragmatically (it’s just a job). Who is unhappy. Who still misses the old boss (or who feels THEY should have been the one promoted to manager). And so on.

To accomplishments at once! You get to know your team members better under the “cover” of researching the department’s and its employees’ pasts.

This isn’t being sneaky. No. It’s called learning how your team members think and work so that you can figure out how best to manage them.

All while figuring out what goals and objectives could and should work. Double win!

Also (and here’s a great point), it may be best that you have no more than five top priorities, goals, and/or objectives at one time.

Do five goals feel too small? It won’t be: every one of your top goals and objectives will have one or more smaller goals and objectives. So having just five top priorities will keep you and your team focused and feeling capable (instead of overwhelmed and all over the place).


Next up in our new manager advice series: managing without micro-managing

You’re the boss, and you have a vision. You see how you want the department to “be,” how you want your team to operate, the goals you want you and your team to reach.

But notice that “your team” appeared two times in the paragraph above:


You’re not doing this alone!

 You need to let your team members know what needs to be done, get/give them the tools to get it done, and then…..let them do it!

And that can be really hard because – remember – you have a vision, and no matter how clear you are on what you want, your team members are never going to bring it to fruition.

Even if you could somehow micro-manage your team members completely, it’s not going to happen!

You need to give guidelines and parameters and then…

Let them do it.

We’ll discuss how to do this in our next post.

Meanwhile, don’t be shy! Take a look at our current career opportunities and apply if you see something interesting. Also, even if nothing catches your eye, register with us, and upload your resume: we’re continually getting new jobs and assignments in, some of which we never post to our job board.