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10 Development Goals for Better Leadership

Good leadership is central to the success of any business. See the top 10 goals you should work toward to develop your leadership skills.

  • Every business leader can improve their leadership skills.

  • You should set actionable leadership development goals that you can track.

  • Most leadership development goals center on improving communication and relationships.

  • This article is for small business owners, supervisors and managers who want to develop their leadership skills.

Being a leader is not just a position in a hierarchy, a higher pay grade or additional responsibilities – it is a skill set that you should be continually developing. Every leader at every level of experience and skill has room for growth, but the thought of setting and achieving leadership goals may leave you wondering where to begin. There are 10 basic leadership development goals that, depending on your position and skill level, you should strive toward. Once you have identified the goal(s) you want to strive for, the next step is to develop an action plan to help you achieve them and track your progress. Following this process will help you become the leader your organization deserves. Why good leadership matters Good leadership can make all the difference in the workplace. Without it, employee morale and productivity will inevitably suffer. Leadership mistakes are common, but anyone can learn how to lead more effectively. Whether you are a natural-born leader or have developed your leadership skills over time, there is always room for growth.

The first step to becoming a better leader is improving your self-awareness. This will help you identify and set leadership development goals, which is the next step towards becoming a better leader. The goals you set should be geared toward improving your weaknesses and enhancing your leadership style.

10 leadership development goals

We spoke with a number of business owners and leadership experts to identify the top development goals every leader can work toward. Keep in mind that the leadership qualities you need to develop will depend on your specific expertise and skill level.

1. Become an active listener.

Active listening is a top trait among successful leaders. An effective leader facilitates a culture of clear communication and actively listens to what their team has to say (whether those team members are entry-level or C-suite). Enter every conversation with the intention of listening to your team’s insights, whether those are positive or negative.

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.

3. Be adaptable to change and growth.

Instead of assuming you know everything, set a goal of being adaptable and open to learning. Openness to change puts you in a better position to successfully run your company. This is especially important during periods of economic restructuring, 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.

5. Become more efficient.

Business leaders often manage various conflicting responsibilities, which is why time management is so crucial. Identify ways you could 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 team.

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.

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. Being an honest, transparent and accountable leader requires humility. Humble leadership means you must be willing to admit your failures and mistakes, and be willing to listen to your customers and employees with an open mind. These qualities facilitate trust between management and employees, which is especially important during times of uncertainty.

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