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Setting leadership goals

Setting goals.

Setting satisfying people leadership goals requires self-reflection, self-awareness and practice.

When you set your people leadership goals you want them to be motivating and represent what is important to you as a leader. If they serve no purpose or have little interest to you or your leadership aspirations you will not be enthusiastic about applying your energy and efforts into achieving these goals.

If we define goal setting as influencing your environment to get what you want, then humans start setting goals very early in life. According to Piaget (1983) children aged between 12 months and two years have learnt the concept of “cause and effect” and begin to demonstrate behaviours consistent with manipulating an environment to get what they want.

Whilst this is more of an innate goal setting process it becomes a more conscious, consistent process of goal setting when a child reaches their teenage years and continues right through into adulthood.

If you ever find yourself wondering ‘what to do next’ chances are you have completed all your known goals and it’s time to set some new ones.

Setting and achieving people leadership goals requires commitment. Commitment can be attained by aligning your people leadership goals with your personal values.

Our values provide us with an inner compass for guiding leadership decision making and behaviour. Our values are moulded throughout our lives by a range of life experiences:

  • Culture: We tend to be a product of the time in which we live - where & when we were brought up.

  • Identity groups: Those with whom we most and least identify influence “Who we are”.

  • Life Stages: “Our unique perspective” is based on what is happening in our lives right now.

  • Life Events: Socialisation and significant emotional events impact on our values.

When we are clear on our values and what we want to achieve as a leader we are ready to start writing our people leadership goals.

You may already have heard or read about S.M.A.R.T goals. You can tailor the acronym to suit your own vocabulary but essentially S.M.A.R.T goals can be used as a template that reminds you when writing your goals to ensure you include details that render your goal: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bounded.

The physical act of writing down your people leadership goals allows you, and your brain, to clarify exactly what you are aiming for and gives a tangible reality to your goals.

To keep your actions focused and aligned with your people leadership goals it is useful to include your written goals at the top of any ‘to do’ list you write.

A word on language:when writing goals.

Keep your language positive and finite. E.g. “I will” is a powerful messaging phrase maintaining your self-belief in the inevitability of reaching your people leadership goals. This is superior to "I want to" which infers you still believe the goal is out of your reach.

And finally, whilst your people leadership goals are about strengthening your capability, it will also require you to be knowledgeable, understanding and empathetic of the goals of others – especially of those you lead.

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