How Difficult Goals Effect Your Employees

Bringing in the New Year can also mean bringing in new goals. If your employees are picking up last year’s unaccomplished goals, maybe it’s time to set them aside and investigate why they weren’t achieved. An article from author Mark Murphy presents the notion that perhaps employees will be encouraged to accomplish goals that are more difficult.

A recent study found that two specific ideas are capturing top executive’s attention when they search for ways to get employees to take stock in company goals – visualizing goals and increasing goal difficulty. Visualizing goals is important because as humans are visual creatures, we respond better to imagery – thereby being able to process and understand a goal. Making goals more difficult creates a challenge that keeps your employees attention.

Our best people don’t want to come to work to baby step through thir days. They want a challenge; they want to do their time in the lion’s den and come out victorious, to feel that what they do at work has a real bearing ont he big picture.

There is plenty of evidence supporting the idea that employees do better than their best when they are given difficult goals. In fact, the direct correlation between goal difficulty and performance was discovered some 40 years ago by psychologists Edwin Locke and Gary Latham.

So why exactly do hard goals feel good? Well, when people are assigned goals that demand additional learning and effort, they’re more likely to see themselves as high performers and believe that their work is important. This is because demanding goals plant confidence. More difficult goals also signify that the work is more important.

If a boss really thinks through what kinds of goals are going to elicit employee’s best performance and if he or she sits down with those individuals to design optimally difficult goals, it’s a clear indication that the boss cares about them. That level of caring can buy a lot of hearfelt employee loyalty, not to mention a great deal of extra effort

To read more about how hard goals can motivate your employees, click here.

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