Good leaders should want their employees to not only succeed but also push their limits and raise the bar. One way that can help employees get there, is through regular goal-setting. This can be challenging because often times, employees don’t understand the overarching visionand goals of a company or organization. So it’s important that all players are aligned on the corporate vision in order to effectively start with the goals process. With that firmly in place, a manager can try to push his or her employees by suggesting stretch goals—the type of target that may seem impossible.
1. Determine whether the stretch goal is right for the situation—for your employee, for your team, and for the company. It could be devastating for your employee to achieve something difficult, only to see that it was unnecessary, counterproductive, or worthless.
2. Be sure that not all of the employee’s goals are stretch goals—limit the number to one or two per goal-setting round. If an employee has too many near-impossible targets to hit, he or she might get deflated pretty quickly.
3. Be sure that there are manageable milestones as part of the goal, and celebrate the small wins as your employee achieves them. A climber doesn’t reach the top of the mountain in one leap but in many steps.
4. By the same token, don’t punish failure. That same mountain climber sometimes has to reroute (often even backwards) to navigate to the top effectively.
5. Provide adequate and noticeable support. People usually work harder—and achieve more—when they know someone is in their court and monitoring their progress.
With those ideas in mind, managers can help their employees to achieve stretch goals and potentially reach amazing results.