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  • Michael Unhoch

New Role, New Goals

Now that you’ve achieved your goal of becoming a manager, it’s time to set some more goals.

Setting goals is going to be central to your work as a manager. It'll help you provide roadmaps for success, help your team stay focused on what needs to be accomplished, and help you contribute in a larger way to your organization. However, setting goals is not always straightforward, and many new managers struggle to do it effectively.

Let’s explore how to properly set goals based on research and best practices in the field.


Before you start setting those effective manager goals, you'll need to take a look at the overarching vision and mission of your organization. Talk to your leaders and look at your organization's internal objectives. Having a clear understanding of these will help you ensure that your goals align with the organization's broader objectives. As an added bonus, looking at the big picture can help inspire you, and will help activate your drive to set and achieve even more goals in the future.


The SMART framework (pictured left) is a widely-used method across industries for setting effective goals. With the SMART framework, your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Some questions you can ask yourself are:

Specific: What do you want to accomplish?

Measurable: How will you know if you've successfully met your goal?

Attainable: Do you have all the skills/resources necessary to achieve this goal?

Relevant: Why am I setting this goal now?

Time-Bound: How long will it take me to achieve this goal?

This ensures that the goals you set are clear, achievable, and aligned with your team's overall objectives.


While you may be used to setting personal goals, as a manager, setting goals in isolation won't be as effective. Involve your team in the goal-setting process, ask for feedback, and think about how to delegate tasks to achieve your goal(s). This will help you to build team morale, get feedback and ideas, and ensure that everyone is aligned around the same objectives.


No matter how big your goal is, breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps will help you get there faster. It'll make the overarching goal seem less daunting and more achievable. This approach can also help maintain momentum and motivation over time as you and your team work towards achieving each individual milestone.


Making your goals measurable will help you keep track of your progress. Using metrics and data helps you and your team stay on track, and will create a common point of reference around what progress looks like. This can involve using tools like performance metrics, project management software, or regular progress reports. By using data to monitor your progress, you'll be able to make informed decisions and adjust your approach if necessary.


As you're setting and working towards goals, it's important to celebrate successes along the way. Whether a task has been completed or a smaller goal has been achieved, acknowledging achievements will help you maintain morale and motivation. It will also help build a culture of success within your team.

Setting effective goals is a critical skill for new managers. It's important to remember that not everything can be done overnight and that you can't do it all alone. Start with the big picture. Use the SMART framework. Involve your team. Break goals down into smaller steps. Track your progress. Celebrate every little win along the way.

There are so many ways managers can effectively set and achieve goals, but these are the tried and true methods. Try them out for yourself - soon you'll be well on your way to achieving your goals and generating success for yourself, your team, and your organization.



  • Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57(9), 705-717.

  • Doran, G. T. (1981). There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management's goals and objectives. Management Review, 70(11), 35-36.

  • Product Plan. (202). Smart goal setting. What is SMART Goal Setting? | Definition and Overview.

  • Smart goal template. Chatterbox Therapy Center. (n.d.).


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