Goal Setting theory, is it useful?
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Goals setting theory is a motivational theory that helps in sustaining and improving performance. Assigning of goals would direct attention of your team towards what needs to be accomplished. Goals would help in boosting the energy levels of the employees. High energy levels would result in greater motivation levels and increased persistence to achieve the assigned goals. Goals may encourage strategy development and action plans being prepared and implemented within the teams.
It is very important to note that specific goals are more efficient compared to general goals. Goals that are hard but accepted by the team may result in the team accomplishing them. But it must be noted that if the goals are not realistic then it may so happen that the task is not completed. In order for goals to be effective they need to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, result oriented and time bound). If goals are measurable, then only can the performance be evaluated. When employees know that their performance will be evaluated against their goals, the effect of goals increases. Another important fact about goal setting is feedback not just when the task is completed but also during. This allows the person to understand the areas of improvement and strengths resulting in improved performance. Upon completion of goals, rewards and recognition is needed to keep the employees motivated to achieve more demanding goals in the future.
In order to foster teamwork, team goals must be assigned rather than individual goals. This will allow the individuals to work together as teams rather than compete against each other. Team results will start showing improvements. Sometimes making the teams compete each other for rewards may also be helpful but the employees should always be reminded of the fact that only healthy competition is favorable.
But goal setting has a downside to it. Goal setting is a technique that is known to be very dangerous for organizations in the past and it may cause unethical behavior, inhibited learning and decreased intrinsic motivation. It is essential for the leaderto specify exactly how he expects his team to achieve the goals. The leader has to put special emphasis on ethical behavior.
In order to avoid situations where teams could do anything to achieve their aims, teams that are not successful in achieving their goals should not be punished. Rather, it would be better if feedback were provided on their performance. In addition, it will be great if the reason behind the team not achieving the task is investigated and lesson is learnt from their failure.
For instance, if the goal was not achieved due to the goal being unrealistic, then goals could be set again based on what the team thinks is achievable. If they still fail to achieve the goal, then there must be something else that is going wrong, as they were the ones who set the goals for themselves. This means proper investigation of the reason behind unsuccessful tasks must be done in order to understand why the teams failed.