The Goal Setting Theory is perhaps one of the biggest and most instrumental motivation theories in the world of business management. Extensively researched and developed by Edwin Locke in the 1960's, the Goal Setting Theory emphasizes on the significance of setting a goal for employees, and more importantly, setting a goal in an appropriate way. Managers cannot always keep a close track of performance and motivation levels of all employees. This is where the Goal Setting Theory plays a crucial role. It allows managers to set significant and achievable goals for their employees, ensuring that their employees remain motivated, focused and maintain a high level of performance.

Edwin Locke identified five critical factors that should be kept in mind while setting goals for employees.The goal should be easily understood. Clear, concise and with an outcome that is measurable. For instance, produce a brief report on the financial activities of the company for the past month does not make for an appropriate goal. An example of a goal that is understandable, clear and measurable; create a well-written five-page report, provide graphs and pie charts explaining the profits, losses and expenditures of the company for the past month and provide a brief on how the company can reduce expenditure by 15%.

The goal should be challenging, inspiring individuals and requiring them to think and work hard. Managers must ensure that employees are committed to the goal. Commitment to a goal can only be assured if the employees are allowed to participate in the process of setting a goal. Employees should be allowed to express their opinion and have some say in the process. For instance, if an employee believes that a task cannot be successfully completed in a set time frame, he/she should be allowed to voice their opinion. The management in turn should be flexible and open to suggestions of employees.

Feedback is the next important factor to keep in mind while setting a goal. This involves frequent discussions and communications with the employers and employees. Employees should be allowed to give feedback for a goal that they have completed. The employers and management in turn should provide appreciation, reward, or at the very least, productive criticism to the employee with regards to his/her performance.

The last factor for setting a goal is complexity. Employees will remain motivated and inspired if the goal set for them is complex, forcing them to think, work hard and perhaps even learn a few things along the way. At the same time, managers should not set goals that are too difficult, complex and confusing.

The goals should be meaningful, challenging and complex, but at the same time achievable. A useful mnemonic that is frequently used in the management world for goal setting is S.M.A.R.T, referring to goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Targeted.

Author's Bio: 

Bobby Harris is a driven, experienced and knowledgeable professional within areas such as healthcare, childhood education, abuse intervention and crisis prevention; organizational leadership and intellectual / developmental disabilities.

Bobby managed to earn his bachelors degree in social work,as well as his masters of science in health care administration; while boasting a professional curriculum within the health and human services branches dating back to the mid 90s!

On the premises of such an extensive background, Bobby is keen on sharing his wealth of insights, skills, tools, tips and consideration through his inspired and reader-friendly articles.

To learn more about Motivation, Goal Setting,DSP Portfolio Creation, Direct Support Professionals, developmental / intellectual disabilities visit “Direct Support Solutions” or facebook/Directsupportsolutions.