You Can Lead Employees to Their Goals But …

When it comes to goal-setting, employees perform best when they have skin in the game.

By Ashley Keating

Everyone knows that loftier goals equal better results. The research even shows you should be raising the bar again and again. However, now there’s evidence that organizations shouldn’t set goals for employees and simply hand them down.

Organization-set goals elicit increased anxiety because of the uncertainty surrounding them. Even if the employee-set goal and the organization-set goal are exactly the same, the employee is more likely to think that they are unable to accomplish the organization’s goal.

Therefore, organizations should either work with employees during the goal setting process, or let them take the first stab at it.

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Welsh, David T., et al. “Hot Pursuit: The Affective Consequences of Organization-Set versus Self-Set Goals for Emotional Exhaustion and Citizenship Behavior.” Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. 105, no. 2, 2020, pp. 166–185., doi:10.1037/apl0000429.