Goal-Setting Mistakes Project Managers Make

We’ve already posted some tips on setting individual goals (setting-individual-goals-9-tips-for-success), but even experienced Project Managers still sometimes make things more difficult than necessary when it comes to putting together their career development goals. As the season for performance evaluations and goal-setting revs up, check out these garden-variety pitfalls (and how to avoid them).

Setting goals without input from your boss. You might be missing a big opportunity if you don’t discuss your goals with your supervisor. They often have the ability to funnel new opportunities your way, whether it’s information on educational offerings from the local industry trade group or fighting for a budget that covers the conference you want to attend. Include your boss in the goal-setting process, and you’ll likely find they’re a valuable partner.


Setting goals without input from your direct reports. If you have direct reports, you’re probably talking with them about their goals but it may not be intuitive to discuss the goals you’re setting for yourself. Consider adding the topic to your conversations, since they may be able to clue you in to any leadership skills that might need polishing.


Making goals an afterthought. This seems to plague senior-level Project Managers in particular, as they may feel their goals stretch beyond the typical 12-month planning cycle. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to inattention when it comes to career development, resulting in goals that don’t keep up with today’s necessary skills or industry evolutions.


Thinking only 1 year ahead. You should be tweaking your goals every year, but it’s critical that your current goals support longer-term objectives. This wider view allows you to craft goals that give you better direction when it comes to your skills and career, and can ultimately put you in a better position to take advantage of job openings, educational offerings, and networking opportunities.

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