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The Ultimate Collection of Performance Goals for New Managers

Whether you’re a supervisor building a professional development plan for a new management hire or a new manager who needs ideas for areas to improve in your role, this collection of performance goals is a great starting point for a brainstorming session.

In this article, we’ll share dozens of potential performance goals across 9 crucial skills for new managers to possess including communication, teamwork, and leadership. Senior leaders can use these sample goals as benchmarks for their employees to strive for during the year, while new managers can incorporate the goals to write a clear and actionable performance review their supervisors can be confident in. Win-win!

Top Management Skills and Sample Performance Goals

  1. Adaptability and Change Management Skills

  • Champion the importance of keeping yourself fresh in terms of updating your technical skills
  • Be careful not to appear to jump to conclusions too quickly without having considered the merits of a proposed change in direction
  • See yourself as an idea facilitator who helps others see the benefit of change
  • Encourage your team to look for new and creative ways of completing even routine tasks
  • Set strong but flexible achievement standards for your team
  • Treat any mistakes or failures as opportunities for team growth and development
  1. Communication

  • Create a culture of openness and information sharing
  • Build consensus via shared decision making
  • Build trust through regular, open, and honest communication
  • Always deliver bad news quickly and tactfully
  • Speak persuasively and with authority, using facts and metrics to make your case
  • Create a work environment based on inclusiveness, welcoming others’ suggestions and points of view
  • Help your staff members raise their level of awareness and sensitivity to potential employment litigation landmines
  • Assume responsibility for problems when things go wrong, and provide recognition and praise to others when things go right
  1. Conflict Management and Resolution

  • You have every right to observe objectively but avoid any semblance of judging others
  • Ask clarifying questions and restate your position to demonstrate that you are listening
  • Keep conflicts manageable by breaking issues down into their component parts and identifying areas of agreement
  • Convince team members not to act on principle to the extent that rigid and self-justified positions allow for little compromise
  • Avoid personalizing an issue, and always attempt to keep it objective and business-related
  1. Creativity and Innovation

  • Make it safe for your team to take risks
  • Establish diverse project teams to bring a broader range of knowledge, experience, thinking, and creativity to the table
  • Ensure that your team communicates upward and asks for advanced permission rather than forgiveness afterward
  • Always look for new ways of increasing revenue, decreasing costs, and saving time
  • Recognize and reward your employees’ desire to suggest alternatives, to assume responsibility, to achieve, and to succeed
  • Refer more to wikis, blogs, and shared documents that encourage collaboration and group input
  • Enhance team creativity by conducting high-performance brainstorming sessions
  • Learn what current relationships, moods, and conversations are thwarting your group
  1. Hiring and Retention

  • Develop a success profile with specific competencies to evaluate consistently
  • Ask behavioral interview questions to get candidates off their scripted responses
  • Employ a full arsenal of interview questioning categories, including traditional, holistic, and pressure cooker queries
  • Look for ways to lower your department’s turnover
  • Partner with your recruiter in HR to speak with candidates’ prior supervisors during the reference checking process so that you can hear firsthand about strengths, weaknesses, and areas for development
  • Ensure that your interview note taking is in no way linked to any type of protected category, including age, race, gender, sexual orientation, and the like
  • If possible, promote internally first, and then post the backfill position
  • Measure new hire turnover, specifically through the 90-day probation period
  • Analyze the reasons for leaving for both voluntary and involuntary terminations
  1. Leadership

  • Establish and communicate effective goals and measures
  • Celebrate successes, and learn from mistakes
  • Conduct post mortems to make opportunities out of failures
  • Use stretch goals to increase both performance and motivation
  • Always err on the side of compassion
  • Separate the person from the problem
  • Create high-performance teams by creating a work environment in which employees can motivate themselves
  • Enroll in a course on creating a high-performance organization
  • Build trust through regular, open, and honest communication
  • Create a continuous learning environment
  1. Productivity and Volume

  • Ensure that your employees know how you judge and measure their performance
  • Encourage individual development with training and educational programs
  • Ensure that you understand how your employees’ time is spent
  • Provide timely, accurate, and open two-way communication with your employees
  • Provide objective job performance standards with timely feedback
  • Transform your culture by delegating, empowering, and sharing credit
  • Design workflows and processes that maximize productivity without leading to burnout
  1. Staff Development

  • Praise in public, censure in private
  • Practice selfless leadership
  • Delegate what you’re best at and what you enjoy in order to mentor others by sharing your strengths
  • Get to know your team members better by learning two to three personal items per person (for example, hobbies, interests, children, education, vacation destinations, and the like)
  • Refrain from providing immediate answers, and encourage your staffers to think things through with you logically and out loud
  • Provide the appropriate amount of structure, direction, and feedback without handholding
  • Encourage cross-training and job-shadowing to broaden your team’s breadth and depth of skills and organizational knowledge
  • Assign each team member a copy of your company’s annual report and ensure that everyone understands the financial drivers of organizational success
  • Welcome and encourage feedback
  • Convert “yes . . . but” to “yes . . . and” statements to acknowledge the speaker’s point of view and to encourage additional insights
  1. Teamwork

  • Determine the motivational drivers of your team to help them build and grow their careers
  • Share successes and use postmortems to learn and grow from failures
  • Appreciate that each group will have its own personality and needs
  • Capitalize on the talents of your team members
  • Resolve team conflict without drama or angst
  • Foster a sense of shared accountability and group responsibility
  • Look to a group’s collective power to accelerate solutions
  • Be willing to negotiate, strike bargains, and establish reciprocity to harness the group’s power

Discover more performance goals to push yourself and others!

The performance goals described in this article are based on the bestselling book by former Chief Human Resources Officer Paul Falcone, 2600 Phrases for Setting Effective Performance Goals. You can find more sample goals across a variety of skills for all professional levels: early career, administration/operational support, individual contributor, front-line management, and senior leadership.

Want to read more? Get the book!

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Paul Falcone

Paul Falcone is CHRO of the Motion Picture & Television Fund in Woodland Hills, CA, and he's held senior-level HR positions with Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, and City of Hope. Paul is the author of a number of bestselling HarperCollins, AMACOM, and SHRM Books, many of which have been ranked as bestsellers in the categories of human resources management, labor & employment law, business mentoring & coaching, communication in management, and business decision-making and problem-solving.

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