Providing Direction

Part two in the world of New to Management – Mini Series.

My last post was on knowing your people, which will help with providing direction. As a manager all eyes are on you. Each individual is looking to you for guidance and providing direction. So, which way is your map facing? Do you have clear goals that you have for your people? Are you looking both at those goals as work tasks and individual development? There is so much that needs to be done, that sometimes your job feels a bit overwhelming.

The foundation to the management task cycle is making goals clear and important. I use SMART goals to help me step through insuring that any goal that I provide for my people (and myself) are SMART. This approach has worked for me.

  • pecific – it’s easy to tell exactly what is being produced.
  • M easureable – there are concret success indicators that both your people and you can see.
  • A ttainable or A chievable – it can reasonably be accomplished
  • R elevant – it fits with your business objectives
  • T ime bound – the completion date and conditions are clear.

There is one item that I add before publishing anything.. Is this goal really something that I want to celebrate after completion. When I am working with an individual – I normally like to have them write their rev 0 first. Gives them an opportunity to think about what needs to happen and by when. We normally would sit down in a one on one to discuss in greater detail. With the end result in mind – that we would agree mutually on the overall SMART goal (work tasks and personal development). Working together on this helps to stress the importance and understanding of what all is being delivered. When we both have skin in the game… We get it done!

There are many templates for capturing goals. My favorite is a Management by Objectives method. Expectations at the top. With the support deliverables below – with success criteria and by when. At the bottom I like to leave a notes section.  Whatever you use or want to use is up to you. Just make sure that you have all of the SMART items on your template. To this day (some 28 years later), I still use my template.

Links to some templates –

Key Tips.. Use SMART goals for anything that your employee or you would celebrate success. Make sure that you work together to get a mutually agreed upon expectation and deliverables for both work tasks and personal development.