Whether you are a natural-born leader or have developed your leadership skills over time, there is always room for growth. One way to become a better leader is by setting leadership developmental goals. The goals you set should be geared toward improving your weaknesses and enhancing your leadership style. I wanted to share these 10 leadership development goals as guide to help you succeed!
10 leadership development goals
As business owners, we should always work towards developing our leadership goals. Here are some of the top development goals every leader can work toward. Keep in mind that the leadership qualities you need to work on will depend on your specific expertise and skill level.
1. Become an active listener.
A top trait among successful leaders is active listening. An effective leader facilitates a culture of clear communication and actively listens to what their team has to say. Go into every conversation with the intention of listening to your team’s insights, whether you receive positive or negative information.
Showing your willingness to listen will instill a strong measure of trust and encourage people to be more vocal and share their ideas. This will naturally lead to productivity and forward movement toward accomplishing goals for both individuals and the organization.
2. Offer constructive feedback that facilitates growth.
Companies that foster clear communication and employee growth often do so through feedback. As a leader, you can drive your team to excellence by providing constructive feedback that focuses on improvement, not fault. Giving feedback is more than just reviewing someone’s behavior, when done correctly, it can stimulate growth and development. Create an environment where your team feels confident in the intent of your feedback.
Learn to give feedback in a way that reinforces and affirms the things that people are doing well so that they continue to do those things, but also develop a skill set where you can give feedback around places that need to be optimized in a way that a person is left with a sense of encouragement to grow or feels inspired that they can do better.
3. Be adaptable to change and growth.
Instead of assuming you know it all, set a goal of being adaptable and open to learning new things. Openness to change puts you in a better position to successfully run your company. This is especially important during times like the COVID-19 pandemic, when you may need to pivot resources or business operations to accommodate the change in the economy. Staying open-minded to new opportunities and new ways of doing business will help you and your company grow over time.
4. Improve your emotional intelligence (EQ or EI).
Successful leaders often have high emotional intelligence. The five major components of EQ are self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, social regulation and motivation. These traits help with making decisions, setting goals and managing stress, which are all key elements of leadership. Although some leaders are naturally gifted with high EQ, it is something that can be improved. Every leader should have a clear understanding of what emotional intelligence is, but also have a plan to develop their capacity for emotional intelligence.
5. Become more efficient.
Business leaders often manage various conflicting responsibilities, which is why time management is so crucial. Identify ways you can become more efficient (in your individual responsibilities as well as business operations) and work toward those goals. As you become more efficient, you will have more time to spend improving other skills and accomplishing other tasks.
6. Build dynamic teams.
The best organizations are diverse and inclusive, comprising unique individuals. A good leader can objectively identify the best employee for a job to create a successful, well-rounded team.
Leaders often tend to hire people who are a lot like themselves. However, to thrive, businesses are better served by an eclectic team with a dynamic skill set.
7. Lead by example.
The culture and foundation of a business start with its leadership. If you want an organization that facilitates open communication and teamwork, you have to embody those traits. Consequently, if you set a poor example, your employees will likely follow that as well.
8. Be a mentor.
Good leaders are also mentors. Your team looks to you for coaching, counseling and guidance, so make effective mentorship a priority when setting goals. Create a development plan that helps each team member grow as an individual and in their role.
Meet with each member of their team to explore their career goals. Work with them and help them think about ways they can achieve these goals. Give them regular feedback and advice after your meeting to help them along the way. Show them that you care about their personal development by taking the time to listen to them and give them new opportunities to challenge them.
9. Show appreciation, recognition and empathy for your team.
Every great leader recognizes that a business’s biggest asset is its employees. Express gratitude and appreciation for your team, especially when they reach a new milestone. Having a team of satisfied employees can boost productivity and reduce turnover rates.
10. Be honest, transparent and accountable.
Every business leader should be honest and transparent with their team, and always take accountability for their actions. These qualities facilitate trust between management and employees. This is especially important during times of uncertainty.
Turbulent times can clearly affect every industry for better or worse. You need to be able to give employees notice and be transparent with your plans so that everyone is aligned on your vision.
How to write leadership development goals
Not everyone has the same strengths and weaknesses, so leadership goals need to be specific and customized to each leader. You can create yours through a simple process.
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses. When writing leadership development goals, start by objectively identifying your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. If you are having a hard time seeing your weaknesses, consider seeking feedback from a trusted advisor, your team or a leadership assessment tool.
- Choose an area to improve. Choose a weakness (or multiple weaknesses) you want to improve. Focus on just one or two at a time; trying to improve too many areas at once may become overwhelming, causing you to lose focus.
- Set development goals and a road map to achieve them. Choose three or four development goals that will help you improve your weaknesses.
- Track your progress. The goals can be for the long or short term, and you can have multiple ways to achieve them. However, if you have long-term goals, it can be helpful to break them down into smaller short-term objectives that can be tracked weekly.
- Revisit, reassess, and readjust. Leadership skills can be continually improved upon. As you reach your development goals, reassess your leadership skills, and choose new areas to work on.
Importance of strong leadership
Company culture and employee expectations are defined by your organization’s leadership. Employees look to business leaders to determine how they should behave, so the effect of your organization’s actions (good or bad) will be emulated throughout the company.
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