return to homepage

Barriers to Goal Setting 

          A guide on barriers to goal setting and tips on how to overcome them!

Goal-setting is a fundamental tool that provides structure and guidance to the work of an individual employee, as well as to a team and organization.  It provides a framework to define and monitor individual achievements as well as organizational expectations in the short and long-run. Goals provide a road map for the future allowing people to focus their energy and resources on the right activities. They facilitate a commitment to specific objectives, determine priorities and stimulate action towards measurable end results.

However, even though goal setting is such a powerful tool there are still barriers to it. Why do people hesitate to use this excellent tool? 

There are many barriers to goal setting and we are going to list some of the common ones together with some tips on how to overcome them.

Lack of Vision - It's tough for some people to have a vision of the future. Setting goals can certainly help accomplish what people truly want, but they must be very clear as to what that is before the goal-setting process can work.

Fear of the Unknown - Some people are terrified of goal-setting. The goal-setting process usually demands people to beat their biggest fears-the fear of the unfamiliar and of disappointment. They are afraid because challenges and risk might take them into unknown, risky realms.

Lack of Understanding - People don’t set goals because they don’t fully grasp how powerful goals can be. They can turn them from good employees to excellent ones-determined, productive, and high achieving. Some employees don’t understand the nature of goal-setting. They think they have goals but really just have wishes.

History - A bad goal setting process in the past may have caused a lot of disappointments.  In this case people are hesitant to try again and find it hard to believe that goal setting is a tool to help them achieve what they want, step by step.

Lack of Focus - Some people are really disorganized and busy and they see the goal setting process as a way to add more work into their already overpacked schedule. They don’t feel they are ready to take on new challenges. They don’t understand that having goals will make their lives easier, not more difficult, and will save them time in the long run.

Quick Tips to Overcome Barriers to Goal Setting:

Clearly define and explain what goal setting is and how is it going to benefit them and the organization.

Let them know that the goal setting process is a joint proactive process intended to support them in their work and help them grow and thrive.

Visualize the vision with them; let them see the road map through goals and activities by sharing organizational or departmental goals with them.

Ensure them that the process of goal setting is not about creating more work. It is about organizing and focusing them so that they can function better in the long-run.

Don’t push your agenda on them, let them get comfortable with the concept and plan the next steps together with them.

Inspire them - motivate them - start with yourself - grab a flipchart and start listing a few goals!

Outstanding Leaders consider themselves a work in progress
 Dr Franklin C. Ashby 

lead and learn

Free Monthly  Newsletter

Subscribe to our free  e-newsletter and get new monthly articles and other management tools.

Management Skills Resource




Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Management Skills Resource.

Quote of the Month

Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open. Thomas Dewar

Management Terms

Decentralization -
pushing power and decision making downward.

MBO - Management by Objectives.


[?] Subscribe To
This Site

Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Add to Newsgator
Subscribe with Bloglines

Enjoy This Site?
Then why not use the button below, to add us to your favorite bookmarking service?

Template Design
Copyright© 2008-2012 Management Skills Advisor. All rights reserved.