The Secret to Helping Your Team Achieve Their Goals

helping team achieve goals

On our way toward big successes, we are all told to dream big and have bold goals. And research shows that long term goals are important to our well-being. However, the way we obsess over long term goals can be demotivating and uninspiring.

As managers and leaders, motivating employees is a key responsibility that needs attention. Taking an interest in what people are accomplishing doesn’t only keep you in the loop on overall team progress, it also shows employees that you pay attention to the impact they are having and will jump in to offer support, feedback and recognition.

One way to set motivation in motion is to help your team set achievable and specific short term goals. Specific, because the goals have a definitive measure of achievement and timeframe in which they should be accomplished. Short-term, because achieving goals is easier when we make small, regular amounts of progress.

Hundreds of studies show the major finding of goal setting is that individuals who are provided with specific, difficult but attainable goals perform better than those given easy, nonspecific, or no goals at all. (Source)

Short term goals are the stepping stones to bigger successes. By breaking everything down into smaller steps, you have a clearer vision of how to accomplish larger goals. It will also be less overwhelming.

This process will not only help your employees succeed in their roles, but will surface more opportunities to praise your employees. And you want to praise your employees more often, because 90% of recognized employees reported ‘they felt highly motivated to contribute to the success of their organizations’.

Let’s take a look at more specific benefits of setting short term goals.

Measurable Progress

Part of the problem with goals is we often identify them with no roadmap on where to start, or how to get things done. By setting attainable short term goals, progress is much clearer and more tangible. Focusing on daily small wins advance our short term goals and achievement of these short term goals sustains motivation and gives us the ability to accomplish even bigger things in the longer term.

Increased Motivation

With simple and quicker to accomplish goals, employees are more likely to be motivated to stay on track because the end is in always in sight.

Achieving short term goals also helps motivate people to develop strategies that will enable them to perform at the required goal levels.

Positive Emotions

Seeing how much success there has been on the way to reaching a desired outcome will help employees adopt a better attitude for future tasks.

Achieving short term goals increases feelings of confidence and happiness.

More Moments to Celebrate

Would you rather celebrate one huge accomplishment only a few times a year, or celebrate smaller ones on a more regular basis?

Achieving short term goals provides many more opportunities for celebration, propelling your team toward the longer term goals.


“Performance feedback tends to encourage better performance.”

Feedback helps people get recognition for what they are doing well and provides guidance on the kind of improvements they can make that will make them even better.

Refining short term goals and making them visible to your manager and team not only helps them give support and encouragement on your progress, it also provides opportunities for them to help you course correct in case you are working on things that have become lower priorities.

Empowering your team to reach their full potential on the road to success is a lot more manageable and practical through setting short term goals and supporting and celebrating their achievement. Results will be quicker, helping people to not give up.

To keep your employees motivated and to build a high performance team, sit down with your employees to have a real conversation about short term goals and the importance of incremental progress. Be sure to help them understand that it will allow them to have greater impact and will get the entire team involved in encouraging and supporting their successes.

 Do you empower your team with goal setting?  We’d love to hear how it works for you!


-Lolly Fitzpatrick

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