4 Keys To Setting Development Goals


Did you set professional goals for this year? Setting goals for your professional lives is a good idea. It is meant to motivate you to reach that goal. But we often overlook the importance of setting the “right” goal and providing the steps necessary in order to successfully reach them. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when setting your leadership development goals.


Grand goals are just that, grand. It’s best, though, to keep your goals simple in order to make them attainable. Ask yourself what one skill you want to improve upon this year. Do you need to become a better listener? Do you want to improve your organizational skills? Choosing one goal and keeping it simple will help you develop the actions you need to develop a positive habit and incorporate it into your daily life.


Let’s use the example of becoming a better listener. What does this mean to you? Are you talking about not interrupting people, listening to ideas in meetings, or setting time aside each day to listen to people’s concerns. Be specific about what successfully reaching this goal looks like to you.


Determine what strategies and steps you need to implement in order to reach your goal. These steps should be simple and easy to incorporate into your daily life. For instance, if your goal is to be a better listener in meetings, you could say “What I hear you saying is…” before giving your opinion. Just by saying this one phrase you are taking the time to verify that you understand the other person’s idea, perspective or concern. Once you’ve validated what they said and established that both of you are on the same page, it’s easier to give your thoughts on the subject.

Often we want to make these action steps more complicated than they need to be. Instead, just ask yourself what one thing you can do today to get you closer to your goal. Then take a few minutes to do it every day and pretty soon it becomes part of your daily routine and you’ve reached your goal.


It’s important to review your progress on achieving your goal. Try to do this on a weekly basis. What did you do this past week to reach your goal? What can you do better next week to get closer to success? Another idea to help you review your progress is to ask other people to hold you accountable. Go to a trusted friend, peer or advisor at work and tell them what goal you have and what strategies you’re following to reach it. Then ask them to give you feedback on how well you’re progressing and what other ideas they have to help you. You might be surprised at the feedback you receive or the simple ideas they give you to help you reach your goal.

Goal setting is generally a good idea in order to accomplish tasks and improve your skills. It becomes a negative in people’s lives when they feel bad for not reaching it. So pick one simple goal, decide what success will look like to you, create your plan to reach it and ask for feedback to review your progress and you will soon be well on your way to achieving your goal.


12 month leadership development plan & toolkit