You’ll have more success arriving at your desired destination if you have a map in your hand. In the same way, having your manager’s guidance will greatly benefit you this summer. Once you set goals with your manager, you’ll have an exact description of what’s required of you and what you’ll be expected to achieve during your summer internship. Knowing what’s expected of you is empowering, so here are 10 tips on how to set realistic goals with your manager.
1) Be flexible when you set up a time to meet with them. Managers are probably going to have to take time out of their busy schedule to meet with you. However, your manager will appreciate how you had the impetus to set up a meeting.
2) Prepare for the meeting by outlining your personal goals beforehand. Know these goals well and be ready to explain why each one is valuable. Also, write a list of questions you’d like to ask your manager.
3) Be enthusiastic and open the meeting with friendly conversation. You will both enjoy the meeting more if you walk into it with a smile on your face.
4) Outline a schedule together that details when you will meet with your manager throughout the summer. Jointly create criteria for how and when you’ll be evaluated. Aim to meet with your manager at least once a week.
5) Discuss how your personal goals fit into the larger scope of the company. Tell your manager that you would appreciate receiving constructive feedback throughout the course of your summer internship on how you’re progressing towards fulfilling goals that relate to your role.
6) Ask for clarification on anything you don’t understand. Questions don’t make you look stupid; they make it obvious that you care about doing the job right. It’s always better to get clarification and know exactly what is expected of you than to guess how you should do the job. Working without direction makes messes that you and your manager will have to clean up; a waste of time for both of you.
7) Write down your goals for the week and other important points during the meeting. If you don’t copy down all that’s said, you’re bound to forget something. It’s not your manager’s job to give you directions twice. Wielding a pen and pad will prove to your manager that details are important to you. Your notes will keep you on track when you are unsure of what you should be working on throughout the week.
8) Quantify your goals as much as possible and make the desired results metric-driven so your success can be easily measured. For instance, if your manager tells you, “Your evaluation will be based on how many projects you complete;” ask, “How many projects should I aim to complete this week?” When you have these numbers in front of you at your next evaluation, you will be able to say, “We said I should generate 5 leads this week, and I now have 15 leads who I have set up meetings with.”
9) Be honest with your manager. If you don’t agree with something your manager says or don’t understand why you need to perform an assignment in a certain way, respectfully bring it up to them. Burying concerns will only make them sprout up in ugly ways in the future.
10) Thank your manager at the end of the meeting. Reiterate your appreciation in an email or online message and point out specific pieces of their advice that were helpful to you.
“Under promise and over deliver.” If you exceed expectations in every detail of your work, your manager will trust you with more and set higher goals for you by the time you have your next meeting.