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12 Best Leadership Goals for Smart Team Leaders in 2024

Updated on April 28, 2024By
Leadership Goals

Great leaders always follow leadership goals, ensure their teams perform well, and help the business grow. But great leaders are not born but trained and created over time.

Setting leadership development goals is a key part of the process of turning yourself into a great leader. This involves identifying areas for improvement and skills that leaders should possess and then consciously working toward developing these skills.

Which leadership goals should you focus on in the coming year?

While that depends on you and your organizational needs, we have curated a list of 12 goals you can consider. These will get you started, and you can keep adding to the list over the years. Ready to learn more?

Let’s get started.

What are Leadership Goals?

These are learning objectives that help you become a better team and business leader. You can have long-term or short-term goals, but these should be well-defined and specific goals that can improve your leadership skills.

These go beyond personal development and help you become the leader your team needs. Your leadership goals should also align with your company’s values and overall business goals and objectives.

This guide will help you set the right professional goals, so keep reading to learn more.

How to Set Leadership Goals

Leadership goals should be set with the characteristics of a good leader in mind. Make a list of all the essential traits of a good leader and match them with your personality traits.

Do a self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses as a leader to develop a list of traits you need to acquire and skills you need to improve to become a good leader.

You can use the SWOT framework to conduct this self-assessment. Use Nifty’s SWOT analysis template to make this step easier.

You should also seek feedback from your team members to identify areas of improvement specific to you. 

These insights will form the basis of your leadership development goals. You can then use the SMART goals framework to refine and polish your leadership goals, but more on that later.

12 Best Leadership Development Goals for 2024

If you’re not sure which leadership development goals you should focus on, here’s a ready-to-use list of goals to get you started.

Choose the ones that resonate with you and align with your objectives. Make sure you finetune these and make them as specific as possible.

Here you go.

1. Set Goals to Track Success

Everything starts with the end goal in mind, whether it’s planning for Q1 or revamping your website.

As a leader, you should not only set qualitative leadership development goals; you should also set quantifiable goals to measure your and your team’s performance.

It could be as broad as tracking the number of successful projects delivered and positive client feedback to more specific ones.

You should also measure your performance on how much improvement you’ve made on your leadership goals.

Tools like Nifty can help you create SMART Goals with just the click of a button:

2. Build Strong Relationships Within Your Team

This leadership goal doesn’t just focus on building a good rapport with your team but also on fostering great relationships among team members.

This is especially important in today’s remote first world, where many teams prefer to work remotely.

Here are some specific goals and targets you can set to achieve this:

  • Conduct weekly or biweekly meetings with your team to discuss work-related and other updates.
  • Schedule a monthly or quarterly one-on-one check-in with each team member to have an in-depth discussion on their performance and general well-being.
  • Organize regular events and team building activities to build community and camaraderie.

3. Become More Open-Minded

Being open-minded and adaptable is a must-have leadership quality. A good leader should always be open to new ideas and perspectives and adaptable to change.

If you close yourself to new ideas, you learn nothing and stunt your personal growth.

Moreover, adaptability has become a necessary leadership rather than a good-to-have one. The workforce is evolving, with people preferring to work remotely and have flexible work hours. You will become obsolete if you don’t adapt to the changing work environment.

That’s why this is one of the best leadership goals you can set for yourself.

To start practicing this, try making backup plans for things instead of being rigid and having just one “right” approach. Also, foster a culture of openness and honesty where new ideas are encouraged, not punished.

4. Appreciate Your Team

Don’t be the project manager who only points out mistakes but never applauds good work. People hate that; don’t be that person.

Make it a conscious goal to give more frequent positive feedback and appreciate your team members when they’ve done good work. This builds morale and shows your subordinates that you are fair and respectful of their efforts.

Here are some tips to help you with this leadership development goal:

  • Create a rewards and spot recognition program and publicly commend high-performing employees on their good work.
  • Send random emails or Slack shout-outs to applaud exemplary work done by an employee.
  • When giving feedback, make sure you include both positive and negative feedback, and keep the latter limited to constructive feedback.

5. Learn Time Management

Managing your time effectively is the key to being productive. Luckily for you, a lot of research has already been done on this, and there are numerous time management techniques you can use.

From Eisenhower matrix to timeboxing, there are a lot of things you can try. One such technique involves visualizing all tasks in a Kanban view, and Nifty can help with that.

See the image below to see how you can use a Kanban view to keep track of all your tasks and timelines at one glance.

You can also have an idea about dependencies and any other roadblocks just by looking at the task status. If needed, you can click on any task, and it will open the task details along with a custom discussion board for any communication:

You should also invest in good task management software to be more productive and save time on task allocation and tracking.

6. Stay Updated on Your Industry

While staying updated on the new developments in your industry is a best practice for every professional, it is essential for a leader or manager.

Your team should look up to you and come to you for answers when they need help. You should be knowledgeable and updated on the current industry developments and trends.

What can you do to stay updated?

Well, you can read books and research papers, attend industry events and conferences, and subscribe to newsletters from industry experts. You should also follow industry experts on social media to keep tabs on their opinions on the latest industry-related topics.

7. Empower Through Mentorship

Create a culture of learning and development by becoming a mentor and helping your team members upskill themselves. 

The most important thing is to keep your business operations an open door policy and encourage your team to come and visit you or ask questions anytime. There should be no communication barriers between you and your team.

You should also consider scheduling biweekly or monthly knowledge-sharing sessions where you or a team member can discuss work-related topics.

Hosting regular workshops and training programs is also a good idea to help you achieve this leadership goal.

Conduct one-on-ones, discussions, and more in one place.
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8. Build a Dynamic Team

One leadership goal you should strive for is creating a diverse, well-rounded, and dynamic team. 

Such teams are great for idea generation and innovation as they bring different perspectives together. They’re also great at adapting to different situations and working on various projects.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Bring in people from diverse professional and personal backgrounds to form an inclusive and diverse team.
  • Create different pairings for different projects to get team members to work with different people and adopt a different approach every time.
  • Challenge your team by letting them take on new roles and responsibilities and working on an array of tasks, maybe even collaborating with other teams.

9. Always Get Feedback

Just like providing constructive feedback, seeking feedback and constructive criticism from your colleagues is equally important.

Being open to feedback is a must-have quality of any good leader. It shows your team that you believe in learning and don’t think you’re perfect.

Moreover, seeking feedback will help you identify and work on your weaknesses. It gives you a fresh perspective that you will not get from self-assessment and reflection.

Conduct 360-degree anonymous surveys quarterly or annually to get feedback from everyone who works with you. Use the insights to improve your shortcomings and become a better leader.

10. Develop Decision-Making Skills

As a team leader, you should be good at making quick decisions under challenging circumstances and a lot of pressure.

If you lag in this area, this should be one of the top leadership goals on your list.

Asking your team for input and involving them in decision-making can ease the burden on you and help you make better decisions. You could also enroll in effective leadership development and decision-making training programs to achieve this goal.

11. Become an Active Listener

Being a good listener is important for a good leader. By actively listening to your team members, you show them respect and tell them that you value their opinions.

But active listening skills entail more than listening; it also involves responding. Have a two-way conversation with people. Actively ask questions and follow up instead of just listening to them speak.

You should also encourage open and honest communication within your team by having an open-door policy or scheduling one-on-ones with your team members.

12. Improve Your Confidence 

This is one of the universal goals and should be on everyone’s list of self-improvement goals, not just managers or team or business leaders.

As a team leader, however, it’s even more important to display confidence and give your team someone they can look up to. If you’re confident, you will also gain your team’s trust and respect.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not a trait you’re born with but something you can develop and hone with regular practice.

Importance of Leadership SMART Goals

Like any other type of goal, setting SMART leadership goals is important. The SMART framework involves setting goals that are:

  1. Specific: Clear, specific, and concise, not vague or generic. For example, instead of saying, “I want to appreciate my team more,” set specific goals like “I will start a monthly recognition program by the end of this quarter.”
  2. Measurable: Easy to track using specific metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). Leadership goals may be more qualitative than quantitative, but there should be a yardstick for measuring your performance in achieving your leadership development goals.
  3. Achievable: Realistic and feasible to achieve based on your current situation and the time frame you’ve set for achieving your goals.
  4. Relevant: Your leadership goals should be relevant to you and not generic to all leaders. Set goals to improve on areas you lack as a leader, not based on what people say good leaders should be like.
  5. Time-Bound: Specify the time during which you plan to achieve your goals. 

Not sure where to start? Use Nifty’s SMART goals template to create leadership SMART goals for yourself.

Nifty SMART Leadership Goals Template

How Can Nifty Help You Develop Leadership Goals?

Nifty offers a great feature called Nifty Docs that you can use to set goals and plan for the year to improve your leadership skills. Use it to create notes and checklists for yourself and mark items off as you make progress.

You can also use its goal tracker and milestones to track your progress on your leadership development goals. It is a great way to visualize your goals with clear timelines in one dashboard.

Want to check out other features that Nifty offers and things it can help with? Sign up to get started for free

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