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Setting Team Goals: 6 Vital Guidelines For Managers

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The secret to any team's success can invariably be boiled down to one crucial task. Setting the right team goals.

Efficient team goal setting can make the difference between enhanced team performance or wasted time and effort.

While many teams dive headlong into accomplishing their tasks, the high-performing teams take the time to do a proper goal analysis.

For a manager, the act of setting a goal is a learning experience in itself. Once you master the art of determining the appropriate goal that your team should pursue, you can see multiple positive outcomes such as:

  • Boosts team productivity by prioritizing the team's efforts.
  • Encourages transparency among team members about individual roles and responsibilities.
  • Motivates the team members to perform at their best level.
  • Improve collaboration and enhances team spirit.

Yet only 7% of employees fully understand their company’s business strategies and company goals. Also, 44% are unable to name them even when familiar with their company goals.

Clearly, there is a lot of work to be done when it comes to organizational goal setting.

6 Steps To Follow While Setting Team Goals

Despite the importance of goal setting, not all goals are created equal.

A poorly set goal can be a monumental waste of time, resources, and talent while not accomplishing anything sustainable.

It’s hard enough to set and manage our own goals and let alone an entire team.

A team’s goals should be designed and curated while keeping the team’s capabilities, roles, and responsibilities in mind. To make your task easier, here are a few essential pointers to follow while setting your team goals.

1. Goals Should Be SMART

As stated earlier, goals should be feasible. If the goals that you set for your team are vague and insubstantial, it becomes impossible to track the progress.

The SMART goal setting system is a popular technique of ensuring that the above problem doesn't occur.

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurement, Achievable, Relatable, and Time-Bound.

In layman's term, before setting a goal, ensure that it meets the following criteria:

  • Specific: The goal should be clear about its objectives and the end results.
  • Measurable: To track progress, goals should be quantifiable.
  • Achievable: The goal should be attainable and practical.
  • Relatable: Ensure that the goal aligns with the team’s skills, responsibilities and is worth the effort.
  • Time-Bound: It is essential to set the priority of a goal and also a suitable deadline.

Setting team goals with the SMART idealogy will help you gauge the goal's importance and priority.

2. Prioritizing

Every goal has a timeline where its effects will be shown.

A goal like improving the employee engagement level will show its impact gradually. Consequently, another goal, such as fixing a software bug, will most likely be quickly achieved.

The two above examples of goals can be classified as long-term goals and short-term goals, respectively. Both of them are essential business strategies but need effective management.

Long-term goals are likely to be impactful for the overall work environment. However, such goals require careful planning, execution, measurement, and resources. Additionally, the motivation of team members might take a hit while working on such far-sighted goals.

Subsequently, short-term goals can be accomplished quickly but might not be as impactful for business success.

However, trying to heap many goals on your team might lead to eventual burnout and loss of productivity. As a manager, you have to decide what’s the most critical team objective right now.

  • Choose the goals with the highest priority.
  • Focus the team’s effort on that particular goal(s).
  • Add additional goals as the team members become comfortable with their schedule.
  • Flexibility is the key. The priorities of goals might change, and so should the team’s effort.

3. Tie Team Goals To Company Goals

You mustn't disregard the team members' individual goals in the journey of achieving the company's goals.

While the main objective of an employee is to fulfill specific responsibilities, it's imminent that they want personal development too.

It is impossible to get the maximum efficiency and loyalty out of people unless they see a personal gain out of it.

An excellent way to combat this issue is to ensure that the company goals are aligned with the team members' individual goals. It makes sure that people are actively motivated to achieve their goals.

It's also important that team members get the chance to set their own goals.

This act of autonomy will ensure that people remain more likely to stay committed.

Participation of team members in the goal-setting process results in greater clarity around expectations. It encourages employees to put forward their ideas on how to achieve them.

4. Tie Team Goals With Incentives

Attaching the completion of a team goal to an act of incentivizing is a powerful motivator. This essentially will fulfill two purposes:

  • Making the team members feel appreciated for their accomplishments.
  • Boost the overall team performance.

Incentives are instrumental in motivating team members.

But your recognition initiatives must be geared toward promoting good behaviors in the workplace instead of creating unhealthy competition.

For example, setting an irrationally high sales goal and coupling it with a fantastic incentive could create a toxic work environment. Team members might go to inappropriate lengths to fulfill the said goal. Be sure to align your desired company culture when awarding incentives for certain behaviors.

5. Public Tracking Of Goals

Transparency around team goals can be a great way to keep measuring the documented goals.

Public sharing of goals enhances commitment by establishing a proactive tracking and follow-through system.

Team members are more likely to put more significant effort when the teams' goals are visible to most of the workforce.

Tracking the progress of the goals also helps the team to stay focused. It will help the team know which measures are effective and if any resource reallocation is required.

6. Hold Team Members Accountable

When people collaborate, some team members tend to divert their responsibilities to others.

Letting employees know what’s expected of them is a crucial step in gaining accountability through goal setting. Essential points to include are:

  • A detailed explanation of the work ahead.
  • Each individual’s role within the team.
  • Understanding the expectations of the group as a whole.


Are there any additional ways through which you optimize your team goals? If yes, then do drop us an email. We'd love to include your suggestions on this list.

This article is written by Barasha Medhi who is a part of the marketing team at Vantage Circle. Barasha can be found either searching for interesting HR buzzwords to write about or looking at pictures of cozy Bel Air mansions. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com.

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