The best leaders are committed to continually developing themselves as much as they are their teams. As an aspiring leader, setting personal development goals and taking concrete steps to achieve them now is essential to your future success.
Research shows that 92% of people who set goals do not achieve their goals. That’s a hard stat to swallow but it doesn’t have to be that way. By following the five recommended steps below, you increase your chances of being among the top 8% and you’ll be well on your way to meaningful career acceleration.
- Reflect on your strengths. Take stock of what you love to do, what you’re best at, and what others rely on you for. Feel free to ask trusted peers and managers for their feedback so that you can compile an honest assessment of your strengths. This will help you understand where you shine and the value that you provide.
- Understand your “why.” You must believe both that you can achieve your goals and that you must. This is much easier to do when you’re clear on your “why” or the reason driving the goal in the first place. If you don’t truly believe that the goal you set is feasible or necessary, you are very unlikely to achieve it.
- Articulate your unique value proposition. By defining your UVP (the intersection of your strengths, your passions and and the value you bring), you’re able to assess any gaps between what you are capable of now and what you’ll need to get to where you want to go. From there, you can develop actionable goals to close your gap.
- Create actionable AND measurable goals. When it’s time to set your goals, don’t settle for vague or undefined language. Rather than say something like “My goal is to read more this year” or “I’ll become a stronger leader,” be specific. “This year I’ll read 20 books on leadership development” or “I will conduct interviews with 10 leaders I admire to learn about their perspective and experiences.” Make your goals count by making them actionable and measurable
- Break your goals down into meaningful parts. Set yourself up for success by being intentional about how you’ll achieve your goals. For example, if your goal is to read 20 books on leadership development this year, break that down into quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. It becomes much more manageable to imagine reading 5 books a quarter, or 1 book every other week, than 20 books all at once.
When you consider how your goal setting will translate into that future promotion you imagine, ask yourself these questions:
- What kind of leader do you want to be?
- What impact do you want to have?
- Whose leadership style do you admire? What habits or mindsets do they embody?
- What skills do you need to develop to become the leader you aspire to be?
- What experiences do you need to have to prepare yourself to lead?
Don’t be afraid to set ambitious goals. Once you have a vision for your life and your career, ambitious goals can keep you motivated and focused. But be sure to be realistic about the steps you need to take and remember that big change takes time. Set deadlines for yourself, break your goals into incremental steps, and celebrate your progress along the way.
As you grow and develop, your goals may change and that’s ok! Create and schedule opportunities for you to check in with yourself to assess your progress and how the goals align with your current needs.
Setting meaningful personal development goals will help you prepare yourself to step into the leadership role you desire. Take the time needed to really understand your strengths and aspirations, reflect on the impact that you want to make, and take action in small, measurable ways each day.
If you’d like support in clarifying your UVP, establishing a vision for your life, and setting actionable and measurable goals to succeed, reach out to Beyond Barriers today.