10 Leadership SMART Goals For Managers (Examples That Work Now!)

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Your Leadership Development Starts With Effective Goal Setting

SMART goals for managers and leaders have five elements. They are:

Specific: Highly detailed about the desired outcome.

Measurable: Have a means to monitor progress and completion.

Achievable: Challenging but having a reasonable chance for success.

Relevant: Meaningful to one’s current state and future situation.

Time-bound: Have a target date for completion plus interim milestones.

I used this exact goal-setting method during my 30-year career as a corporate manager responsible for finance, accounting, human resources, and information technology.

10 Examples Of SMART Goals For Managers

Here are ten examples of SMART goals for managers you can use to improve.

Managers must be good leaders, so we start with objectives for building your high-performing team. Then, move on to your professional development.

  1. Attract and hire top talent
  2. Be a great coach and mentor
  3. Provide positive leadership feedback
  4. Address poor performers
  5. Delegate effectively
  6. Improve team productivity
  7. Seek regular feedback
  8. Improve communication skills
  9. Embrace financial skills
  10. Cross-train

Next, let’s turn these ten objectives into SMART goals for managers.

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Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

1. Attract And Hire High-Performing Team Members

As a manager, I set and achieved SMART goal #1 because leadership starts with your team. Thus, hiring the right people is required for success. Furthermore, a team with the right mix of skills is vital to drive performance.

Specific: I will change the hiring process by Q4 to include skills-based assessments matching each position’s needs.

Measurable: 100% of new hires will go through the new process starting in Q1 of next year.

Achievable: Human resources has assisted other departments in establishing hiring benchmarks.

Relevant: Building a solid team aligns with company-wide objectives.

Time-bound: The new way to hire staff will be ready by Q4 this year and used for next year’s staff additions.

2. Be A Great Coach And Mentor

Today’s second SMART goal for managers targets coaching, training, and mentoring.

Coaching helps employees improve their skills and reach their potential. Mentoring benefits staff members and the organization.

Specific: I will hold bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with each of my direct reports.

Measurable: Meet one-on-one with each team member for one hour at least 20 times next year.

Achievable: My availability is open for scheduling one-on-one meeting times.

Relevant: Helping my staff improve is critical to the team’s short and long-term success.

Time-bound: Calendar times for the next 12 months will be reserved starting in Q3.

3. Provide Regular Positive Leadership Feedback

My third SMART goal example for managers relates to leadership feedback.

Effective performance depends on leadership from everyone. Positive leadership feedback throughout the year provides valuable input to team members about their behavior and its impact on others.

Specific: I will provide a team member with positive leadership feedback at least once a week.

Measurable: 1 constructive comment given to a team member each week starting in March.

Achievable: By being mindful of my behavior, this goal is attainable.

Relevant: I need to build leadership capabilities within my team, and providing positive leadership feedback is an excellent way to do so.

Time-bound: Start in March of this year and continue the rest of this year.

4. Address Poor Performers

Today’s fourth sample SMART goal for managers takes on one of the most difficult management situations: leadership of poor performers.

Low performance from some employees will bring down the entire team and impact everyone’s morale. Work plans with clear goals and frequent feedback give struggling employees the tools and motivation to improve.

Specific: I will put select employees on 30-60-90-day improvement plans and hold weekly follow-up meetings to discuss progress.

Measurable: All plans will be put in writing and delivered in person.

Achievable: Small, incremental goals will ensure success with each employee’s plan.

Relevant: Improving performance aligns with company goals.

Time-bound: All plans will be delivered by July 1, and follow-up meetings will begin weekly on July 7.

5. Delegate Effectively

Managers must be comfortable delegating, bringing me to another of today’s examples of SMART goals for leaders.

Delegation is a big part of being an effective leader. Delegating lets you focus on high-level priorities while encouraging your team to take on new opportunities.

Specific: I will assign my team members responsibilities, tasks, and projects with deadlines. The assignments will match staff skill sets and availability.

Measurable: 90% of delegated tasks will be completed on time and correctly. I will monitor staff progress during our regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings.

Achievable: Regular check-ins, coaching, and training as necessary will ensure acceptable results.

Relevant: My responsibilities have grown in size where effective delegation is required.

Time-bound: Measurement of delegated tasks will begin next month.

6. Improve Team Productivity

Increasing team efficiency is an essential SMART goal for managers. Thus, complete more work without adding staff costs. Furthermore, productive teams have higher engagement and morale.

Specific: I will identify and implement technology tools and better train staff to complete their tasks more efficiently.

Measurable: Our team’s output will increase by 5%.

Achievable: A 5% productivity increase is consistent with past results and company-wide goals.

Relevant: Efficiency and cost minimization is a major corporate-wide initiative. All departments are required to participate.

Time-bound: The gains will be measured quarterly, leading to a 5% reduction by the end of next year.

Okay. Let’s switch gears.

Next, with your team operating at peak performance, we will turn to examples of SMART goals for managers focusing on you and your leadership development.

My philosophy is simple. Invest in your development. You are your greatest asset!

7. Seek Regular Feedback

Feedback highlights areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. Seek good input often from a diverse group of trusted people.

Specific: I will ask a team member, peer, superior, or external stakeholder for feedback on my performance.

Measurable: I will solicit one feedback session per month.

Achievable: Identifying 12 helpful people during the next year appears reasonable.

Relevant: Obtaining feedback is part of my approved professional development plan.

Time-bound: One session completed each month over the next year.

8. Improve Communication Skills

Next up, I have a critical SMART goal for every team leader.

Effective communication is crucial for managers of all kinds. My confidence grew when I learned to communicate my ideas clearly, and my management career took off. Furthermore, confidence is one element of the five mindset strategies for managers.

First, engaging communication helps inspire and motivate your team. Second, effective communicators collaborate better and can more easily gain buy-in for their ideas.

Specific: I will take the 12-week high-impact presentation and communication skills course and ask for feedback after each weekly session from the instructor.

Measurable: Attend one course and one weekly feedback session.

Achievable: My schedule permits attending the course and focusing on improving my communications.

Relevant: Our company is encouraging attendance in this course and places great emphasis on communication skills.

Time-bound: To be completed in 12 weeks starting September 15.

9. Embrace New Skills In Financial Management

Money is the language of business. Thus, great leaders set SMART goals to improve their financial skills. And as a former finance manager, I had to include this goal!

Specific: I will meet regularly with our controller to review our financial performance.

Measurable: One monthly financial review per month for the next 12 months starting in February.

Achievable: Our controller has committed to spending one hour with me one-on-one to review financial results and identify areas for improvement.

Relevant: The increased attention to my function’s financial results aligns closely with the company’s challenging profit targets for the year.

Time-bound: The monthly financial review meetings will be completed by the fifteenth of every month. I will complete all action items before next month’s meeting.

10. Cross-Train In Another Functional Area

The tenth and final management SMART goal for leadership emphasizes attaining more diverse business knowledge and skills.

Managers must have a broad understanding of their organization to solve complex problems and think strategically. Thus, cross-functional training is an excellent SMART goal for managers.

Specific: Conduct three sales calls with the central region sales manager. Second, work on production line 5 for one week.

Measurable: Three sales calls and one week working on the production line will be counted and verified by the regional sales manager and production line supervisor.

Achievable: The sales and production departments have agreed to the cross-training exercise. They welcome my interest in their roles.

Relevant: Cross-functional training will improve my decision-making and value to the company.

Time-bound:  Complete the sales calls by June 30 and work on the production line for one week before September 30.

Okay. That completes today’s review of 10 examples of leadership SMART goals for managers. Please allow me to conclude with some final thoughts.

Examples Of SMART Goals For Managers And Leaders: Final Thoughts

Managers who strive to be great leaders train their teams and develop themselves to lead people. Furthermore, the SMART goal-setting framework focuses efforts for maximum impact.

As one of my mentors used to say, “Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way.” I don’t know about you, but I choose to lead!

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Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

SMART Goals For Managers (Examples You Can Put To Work Now)