How to Set Goals to Increase Your Authority At Work

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Learn the six steps towards setting goals

toward increasing your authority at work.



Everybody wants to get ahead at work. That’s no secret. The problem is how to get there. Now, you are no slouch! As a mid-career professional, you have gotten the education, skills and tenacity to move up in the workplace. When you first graduated, you expected to be farther along than you are now. You feel stuck in a rut, frustrated, on the verge of quitting your job and doing something else.

Setting effective goals is the way to increase your authority at work. Increasing your authority and influence at work increases the chances of your getting promoted.

Let’s start out with the Merriam-Webster definition of a goal.

Goal – the end toward which effort is directed.

This goal’s definition has three keywords: end, effort and directed. The word end means a conclusion. It is not permanent. There is a destination, an arrival to a specific point. It doesn’t go on and on. The word effort means skin in the game. You have to do something in order to achieve a goal. The word direct means focus, a specific aim. These three words signify what a goal means.


Below are the six steps towards setting goals toward increasing your authority at work.

Get clear

The #1 mistake the people make is thinking that they have to have everything figured out. You don’t need to have Right now you can be unsure about your goal. If you like you are sick and tired of being sick and tied, then that’s a decision. If you are unclear about what you want to do, getting clear is the first step.

Pick One Thing

When you are in pain, everything aches. You hate your job. You hate your coworkers, the building, toxic environment, etc. Pick one thing. Picking one thing builds upon the foundation of getting clear. Picking one thing is a clear way to set a goal and increase your authority at work. In this case, I am focusing on getting a promotion.

Start with the End in Mind

Start with what you really want which is the outcome. Oftentimes, it’s not the beginning or end that trips us up, it is the middle. Holding tight to the outcome keeps you focus. Regarding the promotion, some questions that you must answer are:

  • Do you want the promotion at this company?
  • Are you okay with moving to another company if you don’t feel like you can get promoted here?

You have to be honest with yourself. Sometimes promotional opportunities don’t come in your immediate office. You may have to move in order to get the promotion you want.

Work Backward from Your Goal

Now that have your outcome, work backwards from there. You want the promotion. What steps must you take to get the promotion? Do you have the requisite training and skills to get to the next level? If you currently don’t have the skills, I recommend going to Meetups because they are free. If you belong to a professional organization, attend these workshops to acquire the skills.

Put a timeline together

Goals are dreams with deadlines. Goals don’t become real until you put timelines in these plans. In addition, I highly advise you to have back-up plans and an evaluation process at the end of every phase within the plan. For instance, say that your timeline is to receive a promotion in 1 year. We can break this year down into four quarters. At the end of every quarter include the evaluation phase. This evaluation phase is the time to see what you are doing wrong and right.


Take time to celebrate reaching your goal. Celebrate your promotion. You have earned it. Don’t just go from one goal to another goal. Take stock in all of that you have accomplished and overcome in order to achieve this. It is well deserved.

These six steps will help you effectively set goals and build your authority at work.

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