Manager SMART Goals: What Is It & Examples


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To effectively guide your team towards success, consider setting manager SMART goals. As a manager, you have the responsibility of boosting your team’s performance and motivation, which tests not only your organizational and management skills, but also your leadership abilities.

Setting goals from the beginning has proven to be a useful practice in guiding staff. Making an effort to build these goals will bring your team strategically aligned with the company’s expectations and enhance your capabilities as a leader. Want to know how to start working smarter? Introducing manager SMART goals!

Check out 10 SMART Goals Examples


  • The term SMART is an acronym used to refer to specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound goals.
  • SMART goals, as opposed to SMART objectives, are the fixed end results that the company is aiming for in the long term.
  • For managers, SMART goals are a management tool that helps develop their leadership capabilities and improve their performance based on their role in the organization.

What you should know about manager SMART goals

Manager SMART goals are the smartest way to set and meet a work plan in line with the company’s organizational objectives. To learn how to guide your team to success, we recommend that you pay attention to the following section where we tell you everything you need to know about SMART goals.

What are SMART goals?

A goal is a statement that describes what an individual, team or organization expects to achieve in a given period of time. In other words, they are the results originally proposed by the company and that the company must meet according to a previously established deadline. Ideally, they guide workers to improve their productivity and enhance their overall performance (1).

The SMART methodology is a tool designed to help set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goals. It is a system that fosters a clear, accurate and mutual understanding of the expected levels of performance and professional development to be established at the outset by company managers.

What are the characteristics of SMART goals?

The term SMART is an acronym in which each letter represents a characteristic of this model. Pay attention to the following list, where we present each point of the S.M.A.R.T. model (2).

S = Specific

Indicates the result you want to achieve in a detailed, focused and clear way. You must specify what you want to achieve (What?), the reasons why you want to achieve that result (Why?), the people involved (Who?), the location (Where?) and its restrictions and limitations (Which?).

M = Measurable

They should contain quantifiable metrics that allow you to verify whether or not you have achieved your goal. They usually have numbers to express a specific quantity, a quality indicator or a cost that allows you to monitor your progress.

A= Achievable or achievable

You must have adequate capabilities, time and resources to achieve it. Ideally, there should be a track record where a similar goal has been previously accomplished in a similar context. Remember that your team will not invest their time and enthusiasm in a project they don’t believe is possible. Be realistic!

R = Relevant

A goal is relevant when it fits both the needs and desires of the organization and the employee. It should advance the overall purpose of the company, while being beneficial to the individual in terms of professional development.

T = Time bound

Must have a deadline or deadline to be achieved. This increases levels of urgency, which serves to focus and motivate your team to complete their tasks in a timely manner.

(Source: Milagros Lorenzo Martos/ Gitnux)

How and when did SMART goals emerge?

The acronym SMART was initially introduced by George T. Doran, consultant and former Director of Corporate Planning at Washington Water Power Company. In 1981, he published an article entitled “There is a SMART way to write management’s goals and objectives” in which he made this method known for the first time (3).

George T. Doran – Former Director of Corporate Planning at Washington Water Power Company: “Managers get confused by all the verbal content of seminars, books, magazines, consultants, etc. Let me suggest, therefore, that when it comes to writing effective goals, corporate officers, managers and supervisors just have to think of the acronym SMART (4).”

He had observed how the goals and objectives proposed by various companies were too general to generate a relevant positive impact on them. For this reason, he promotes the SMART method so that leaders can set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound goals to effectively manage their teams and monitor their progress.

Since then, thousands of companies have learned to create SMART goals to improve their performance.

What is the difference between SMART goals and SMART objectives?

It is not uncommon to confuse the concepts of “goals” and “objectives” with each other. While both terms can be SMART, there are clear characteristics that distinguish them from each other. Firstly, goals are the overall aims towards which the company is moving and seeks to achieve through the fulfillment of key objectives. To put it another way, the goal is the destination and the objectives are the means to get there.

Other key differences would be that goals are set for the long term, that is, these results are not expected to be achieved immediately. On the other hand, objectives are thought in the short term, as they are often more concrete and easy to achieve tasks. In addition, objectives are established for different small teams according to their capacities, responsibilities, and experiences in their work areas. In contrast, goals are set for all members of the organization or a particular area of it.

Finally, it should be noted that goals are usually fixed, since they are determined according to the organization’s strategy. This is not the case with objectives, since they are adapted to the internal and external circumstances of the company to ensure their fulfillment (5).

Final resultMeans to an end
Long termShort term
For the whole companyFor different teams

Why is it important to have SMART goals?

As you may already know, management involves certain responsibilities that do not correspond to the average worker. Among them is monitoring your team’s performance and meeting the company’s goals on time. Your duty is to ensure that work is done in an efficient and organized manner.

The importance of manager SMART goals lies in their ability to provide clarity and reduce confusion among your team members. Establishing the desired results from the outset makes it clear what is expected of them and allows you to monitor their execution in relation to their respective role. Thanks to this, it is possible to keep track of the work to identify and solve performance problems, maintaining the optimal level of productivity required by the organization.

Having SMART goals does not mean working harder, but working smarter.

What are the benefits of SMART goals?

Having made clear the importance of using manager SMART goals, it still remains to establish the different advantages that this method can bring you. Primarily, it gives workers a sense of direction and focus towards the desired outcome. This also allows for much faster completion by not wasting time with irrelevant achievements. In addition, as a tool that monitors your performance, you will be able to identify potential problems and areas that need improvement.

Manager SMART goals are challenging, but this is far from being a disadvantage, as it encourages you to act outside your comfort zone and work harder to meet it. The more challenging the goal, the more satisfaction you will feel after accomplishing it (6).

Although this methodology has proven to be successful in many respects, it is not without certain limitations. Among them is the disadvantage that it is a long and time-consuming process and that it has the possibility that relevant goals are left aside because they are not given enough importance. On the other hand, having a deadline can help create a stressful environment where the goal is seen more as a burden than an opportunity. Finally, because of its rigid structure, it leaves little room for creativity and innovation in the search for solutions (7).


  • Focus and direction
  • Motivation
  • Challenging
  • Rapid results
  • Problem identification
  • Sense of satisfaction
  • Alignment


  • Time-consuming
  • Possible oversights
  • Rigid approach
  • Stressful environment

How can manager SMART goals improve leadership skills?

The manager’s position is subject to a number of obligations along with a certain amount of authority in front of their team. In other words, you will be responsible for guiding them in their work in the company. Including SMART goals in your work model will not only verify your team’s performance, but will also help you to develop your own leadership capacity. This is because it is a system that allows you to make decisions, manage your time and that of others, and, above all, evaluate the performance of your work in relation to your role as well as the rest of the members of your team (8).

Explore: What Is Leadership?

Here are the different leadership skills that can be improved with the SMART method:

(Source: Milagros Lorenzo Martos/ Gitnux)

How to write effective manager SMART goals?

As previously stated, SMART goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. If the goal you have set does not have these characteristics, then it is clearly not a SMART goal. But then, how can you write it correctly? To save you the possible headache, it is better to clarify this doubt through examples that will help you understand what distinguishes an effective SMART goal from one that is not.

Example of an effective SMART goal

SMART GoalDavid’s team should increase web traffic by 10% in the next five months by increasing the number of posts per week from 2 to 5 in order to improve search engine rankings

This is a perfect example of what your manager SMART goals should look like. See, it meets all the characteristics:

  • It is specific because it clearly states what is to be achieved (increasing web traffic), how to do it (increasing weekly posts) and who is to do it (David’s team).
  • It contains a numerical indicator that will check whether or not this result has been achieved (10%), so it is measurable.
  • It is achievable because it presents a realistic possibility in a context where the necessary resources are available to make it happen.
  • It is relevant because it is significant for the company’s overall objective (to move up the search engine results rankings).
  • Finally, it is time-bound because it presents a time limit to carry it out (5 months).

Example of a non-effective SMART goal

SMART GoalImprove the company’s web traffic

In this case, the proposed goal does not meet any of the characteristics required by the SMART method. Giving a vague and general idea of what you should do is not being specific, nor does it have deadlines or numerical indicators that account for its progress, so it is neither measurable nor timely. Although it can be understood by common sense that it is a relevant objective for the company, it does not make clear the reason why it is important to improve web traffic. Likewise, it also lacks sufficient data to determine whether the company has the resources to accomplish the task. So, is “improving the company’s web traffic” SMART? Not at all.

The more vague and general the goal, the less effective it will be.

When to use manager SMART goals?

While the manager SMART goals method is a tool you can use at any time, there are usually more appropriate circumstances than others to discuss these goals as a manager. Some of the opportune situations in which you can start using these goals are as follows (9).

  • Within the first 90 days after assuming the position.
  • At the beginning of the annual planning cycle.
  • After a series of organizational changes that impact the company, your team and you.
  • At meetings set to discuss the new direction of the company.


When you are in charge of a project, the last thing you want is for something to go wrong. As a manager, there are things that can get out of your control, but you will always be better prepared with a work plan that supports your strategy. While SMART goals don’t guarantee outright success, they can significantly reduce the margin for error by providing clarity, structure and direction to the team.

An effective manager is not the one who works the hardest, but the one who works the smartest. So use SMART to create a structured, results-oriented environment – an environment that allows both you and your colleagues to develop as professionals. Are you ready to take on this new challenge?

Explore the Best Task Management Software


1. CFI Team. SMART GOALS [Internet]. Corporatefinanceinstitute. may 7, 2022 [cited October 12, 2022].

2. University of California. SMART Goals: A How to Guide (How to Write SMART Goals: A Guide for Managers and Employees). 2016.

3. Haughey D. A Brief History of SMART Goals [Internet]. Projectsmart. december 13, 2014 [cited October 12, 2022].

4. Doran GT. There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives. Management Review. November 1981;70:35-6.

5. Macleod L. Making SMART goals smarter. Physician Executive. Augostp deo 2013;38(2):68-72.

6. Yasar K. SMART (SMART goals) [Internet]. techtarget. 2022 [cited 2022 Oct 12, 2022].

7. Amin H. How to write SMART goals (with examples) [Internet]. hypercontext. august 30, 2021 [cited October 12, 2022].

8. Nour M. How to Create SMART Goals: A 2022 Guide for Managers [Internet]. january 16, 2022 [cited October 14, 2022].

9. Government of South Australia. Office for the Public Sector. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals & objectives: Quick reference guide for employees. 1-5.


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