Are You Setting Unrealistic Goals At Work? 5 Tips To Avoid ThemSetting goals is a crucial part of motivating teams and managers. When your goals are set, it is easier to stay focused on them and make progress toward your ultimate goal. However, setting unrealistic or not well-researched goals can be detrimental to work performance and can also cause harm to the individual. That’s why setting goals that align with one’sone’s goals and abilities are of utmost importance. This blog explains what unrealistic goals are and how individuals can put them at work without getting burnt out or demotivated.
What are unrealistic goals?Unrealistic goals are goals that are not achievable, doable, or practical. Generally, these goals set higher standards than the individual or team can reach. They can be expensive and time-consuming, leading to feelings of frustration and despair when the failure occurs. They can also force individuals to work hard and strive for success even when they know failure is possible. It can cause them to lose sight of the goal or why they are working so hard. Setting unrealistic goals is incredibly unhealthy for managers, as constantly not meeting expectations puts them on the brink of existential crises. This type of goal setting can prevent people from developing a healthy perspective on their goals and achievements. In essence, it can lead to burnout and demotivation in team members. On the other hand, stretch goals are highly ambitious goals that require a level of dedication beyond what an individual usually puts in. These goals can keep team members motivated and focused on their larger objectives, regardless of whether they fail or succeed. Read more about stretch goals here to know the difference.
Unrealistic goal checklistUnrealistic goals are goals that are not attainable, doable, or practical. These goals are set by individuals or teams with unrealistic expectations of their abilities and potential. They set overly ambitious, unrealistic goals, and frequently impossible to meet. Such goals force you to work harder than ever to achieve them but ultimately lead to frustration and failure. If your goals look like the below checklist, they might need a reality check:
- They are set at an unprecedented height
- You are too stretched to take care of everything
- The goals do not motivate you
Examples of unrealistic goalsUnrealistic goals are goals that are not attainable, doable, or practical. They can be expensive, illogical, and time-consuming. In short, unrealistic goals require an unrealistic level of dedication and commitment from individuals and teams. It leads to frustration, disappointment, and even burnout for those setting them. Some unrealistic goals at work can look like this:
- Setting an unrealistic target for a team without providing adequate resources or training: A manager asks the team to revise the sales target from 1500 to 2500.
- Expecting employees to work 80+ hours a week without adequate compensation or time off: A manager asks team members to put in additional hours during peak season as they have onboarded too many clients.
- Implementing a new software system or process without proper training or testing and expecting employees to immediately adapt and excel at it: A manager changes the client management system used by the team. However, the team is unable to understand the new system without training. Although they are supposed to carry on work, their productivity drops due to constant confusion and errors.
- Promising unrealistic career progression or advancement opportunities without providing a clear path or the necessary skills and experience: A manager terminates training programs for new hires at three months. However, the trainees cannot learn every aspect of their job in this period.
- Setting unrealistic deadlines for projects without considering the time required for planning, coordination, and execution: A manager asks their team to hire five specialists in a week even though the team is occupied with other tasks.