Effective leaders all have one thing in common— they set personal leadership goals to improve their skills. Lifelong learning and continuous improvement are essential for leaders at every level. Leadership goals are important not just for personal development but also to encourage an engaged and productive workplace. Managers working to improve their leadership skills will also set a great example for their teams, encouraging all employees never to stop learning!
What Are Leadership Goals?
Leadership goals are clearly defined objectives to improve your skills as a leader. These goals can be long-term or short-term, but they must be specific and measurable so you can track your growth and progress along the way. When setting personal leadership goals, you can use the SMART goal criteria: objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
For example, you may want to work on improving your confidence. However, setting that as a general ongoing goal makes it impossible to track or measure. Instead, you could aim to enroll and complete a public-speaking class within the next six months. That objective is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to improving confidence and time-bound to happen within six months.
5 Leadership Goals for Every Leader
If you are a new manager or setting leadership goals for the first time, you may wonder what areas of leadership you should focus on first. While a leader will need many competencies and skills to succeed, here is a list of five leadership goals that any leader will benefit from pursuing.
1. Be More Adaptable
Leaders today must be prepared for rapid change and disruption— no matter their industry. Most people naturally resist change, so learning and practicing adaptability is an essential leadership skill. To become more adaptable, leaders can embrace a growth mindset and adopt mindfulness practices to learn how to stay positive and deal with stress in difficult times.
To make this a SMART leadership goal, you could enroll in a mindfulness course or set a specific plan to practice meditation each day.
2. Build Relationships
Great leaders know how to build relationships with their customers, employees and other stakeholders. They are experts at growing their network and creating a sense of community wherever they go. Creating bonds with employees will foster trust, improve inclusiveness and encourage productivity and engagement.
To make this a SMART leadership goal, consider scheduling a specific number of employee outings, one-on-one lunches, or team-building events per quarter and then collecting feedback about how that has improved workplace relationships.
3. Improve Your Listening Skills
Listening is essential to effective communication, building rapport and resolving conflicts. Leaders sometimes get into the habit of doing most of the talking, but working on active listening is also important. Active listeners are a rarity in an increasingly distracting environment, with many people and devices vying for our attention. Leaders with this important skill will benefit from improved relationships and increased empathy for others.
To make this a SMART leadership goal, create a plan to assess your active listening at the end of any regular meetings. You could work with a friend or colleague to quiz each other at the end of a meeting or conversation to determine how well you listened and understood what the other was saying.
4. Be a Great Coach
One of the most important roles of a leader is to coach and mentor their teams. Today’s employees seek leaders who will share their expertise and experience while creating opportunities to learn and grow as professionals. Where managing is about providing directives and assigning tasks, coaching involves partnering with employees to help them reach the next level in their careers. Effective coaching increases employee productivity, engagement and commitment.
To make this a SMART leadership goal, schedule regular training sessions for your team where you share expertise and advice, and allow them to discuss what they would like to learn to become better at their jobs.
5. Invest in Lifelong Learning
One of the worst things a leader can believe is that they know everything about managing their industry, organization, or themselves. There is always room to expand your knowledge, skills and grow as an individual.
To make this a SMART leadership goal, consider enrolling in a leadership development or continuing education program. At Crestcom, we believe that managers and their teams benefit greatly from a results-oriented curriculum designed to create a deeper understanding of leadership skills. So, start working on your leadership goals by reaching out to learn more about our programs today!