Suggested Leadership Development Goals for All Leaders

For anyone it is important to continue to grow and develop, and that couldn’t be truer for Leaders.  The development of leaders within the organization has far reaching benefits to not only the individual but the organization as well. Having an action plan for leadership development that is supported by the organization is almost mandatory for any organization wishing to keep up with the needs of the future.  And the good news is that developing leaders does not have to be a major intervention.  It is something that is easy to do in the context of the job that each leader performs every day. When thinking about leadership development many people think of the formal way of learning that usually involves being enrolled in a course or program. Although these courses are a starting place for development to occur it is also important to make use of other resources and learn on the job.  Most leadership skills are comprised of behaviors and behaviors take time to change.  For example, it is not as simple in a class as learning the 6 good steps to delegation and then all of a sudden, the leader is a great delegator.  According to the 70/20/10 model about 70% of development is learned on the job. For this reason alone, it is important that leaders and organizations have leadership development goals that they can work towards every day. Having goals, and a specific development plan will make leaders more aware and motivated to develop on-the-job.  

The first step is to create your individual leadership development goals. They need to be informed and educated goals that correlate with both your job role, development needs, and personal growth. In just three easy steps below you will get a brief understanding into how to go about creating your leadership development goals.  


3 Steps to creating leadership goals  

1. Determine your strengths and weaknesses. 

In this first step leaders should take a dive deep and identify the areas that they thrive in and also the areas where they need improvement. Identifying these items will help you have a better idea of what areas of development you need to work on most. It is important to know that both your strengths and weaknesses can be developed further so when identifying be sure to really look at both sides. One simple way to accomplish this is through the use of a 360-degree assessment.  It is an assessment that is easy to implement and offers each leader a detailed analysis of their strengths and areas needing development. It is a terrific way to begin an Individual Development Plan (IDP).

2. Choose areas in most need for development. 

After evaluating your strengths and weaknesses it is important to then look and see which areas of those are the most important. Which weaknesses are in most need of development and which strengths do you want to grow? Once you have figured that out then you will know the areas of development you want to focus on for your leadership development goals. For all areas identified for inclusion in the development plan the leader should understand why the particular skill is important to develop.  They also need to understand the underlying causes behind the development need.  


3. Write down clear and concrete goals with expectations. 

What gets measured gets paid attention to.  We know that if leaders just read their report and try to think about what’s in it as they move forward in their job that no behavior change will actually occur.  When things are written down with due dates someone can hold the leader accountable for actually engaging in developmental activities.  In other words, having a written record of your goals, and developmental activities, helps to keep you on track and make it easy to know what the end result should be while you are in your development process.  

Now that it is clear how to go about writing a leadership development goal it is also important to know what kind of goals these may be. Many leaders have similar goals to others. Below is an explanation of some common leadership development goals:  

Example Goals:  

Develop Listening Skills 

Although as a leader it is important to communicate your needs to your team, it is also important that you are listening to your team and your employees. Being an active listener can help your organization come up with new innovative ideas, and help resolve and decrease conflicts in the workplace. Listening can be as powerful of a tool as speaking and is key in having good communication.   

Lead by example

No one likes to hear that something is good for them if the person delivering the message does not do the same thing.  Being a leader who works with your team and shows the same attitude, work ethic, and time into work as your employees is an important skill to have. Leaders who just oversee and are not an active part of their team are less successful. Learning how to be a part and set an example of both an employee and leader is an important goal.  

Recognize wins

This goal relates to interacting with your team. Be sure to be the type of leader who can easily celebrate the wins of the team. Do not take all wins as your own, and be sure to recognize team members who have won a deal or have done a good job on a project. Being able to celebrate not only yourself but everyone around you is a great leadership skill to have.  

Show empathy

In all situations at work, it is important as a leader to show empathy to your team. Be able to celebrate the wins and sympathize with the losses while showing respect towards everyone. Be able to be someone that your team can come talk to and trust, and be able to motivate them to do better or keep pushing forward in their career.  Being able to be respectful and show your employees that you care when you have to reprimand, resolve conflict or even terminate an employee is also an important aspect of this goal.  

Why are leadership Development Goals Important?  

Lastly, we will describe why are leadership development goals important. As a leader it is important to have something concrete to be able to work towards even if you are at the top. Company goals are just as important to a leader as personal development goals, career and leadership development goals.   

Having specific goals can help you grow in your current role and grow as an individual and help you become a better leader. By having concrete goals, it will help you go back and reassess your goals after an amount of time, be accountable for yourself, and be able to track your development. It will also help your team become more unified because they will have a leader who is working at their best every day and working to become a more well-rounded leader every day.  

Related Resource: Leadership Development– Big Questions Answered  

Related Blog Post: How to create an inclusive leadership development process