many leaders, it’s a time to reflect on accomplishments for the past year and
establish goals for the upcoming New Year. It’s also a good time to set leadership
development goals, either as part of a formal development planning process, or
just because it’s a proven way to continuously improve as a leader. While leadership development goals should always
be specific and relevant to the individual leader and linked to the
organizational context, there are a few common ones that most any leader could
This year’s edition includes one action step to
take for each goal.
1. Become more
self-aware (and aware of others).
I’ll learn more about my strengths and weaknesses. More about my own emotions
and how to control them, about other’s emotions and how I am coming across to
others, and how to harness this awareness of self and others to be a better
leader. I’ll take a multi-rater assessment or figure out some other way to get
an accurate assessment as to how I am perceived by others. I’ll take stock of
my values to become clearer on what really drives my behaviors and what’s important
step: I’ll take at one assessment.
2. Delegate more. My unwillingness or inability to let go is
causing me to work long hours, preventing me from having the time to be more
strategic, and is retarding the development of my team. I’ll do some serious
self-reflection, or work with a coach or mentor, to figure out what’s
causing me not to delegate. Is it my own ego? Is it a lack of confidence
in my team? Once I get to the root cause, I will create a list of everything I
do and make hard decisions on what to delegate, who to delegate to, how to do
it, and by when. I’ll have conversations with each direct report and my manager,
asking them for their input on what they think I should be doing less or more
step: In order
to begin the process of learning to let go, I’ll let my dining companion order
my meal the next time I eat out. 3. Be more strategic. I’ll improve my ability to see the big
picture and take a longer range, broader business perspective. I’ll learn to
step back from the day-to-day tactical details of my business and focus on the
“why”, not just the “what” and “how.” I’ll learn to speak the “language” of
strategy and apply these concepts to leading my organization.
step: I’ll read
one book on strategy and apply a
strategic framework to my work.
4. Be a better listener. I need to learn to pay attention
and demonstrate to others that that I value what they have to say. I’ll use
active listening, open-ended questions, body language, and eliminate distractions
that get in the way of my ability to listen.
step: I will put down and
mute my smartphone during meetings and conversations (at home and at work). 5. Become a better
negotiator. I’ll learn the
“art and science” of negotiation, and use proven negotiation techniques to
collaborate and reach win-win outcomes with my manager, direct reports, peers,
suppliers and customers.
step: I’ll learn a proven negotiation
framework and apply it to one personal and one business opportunity.
6. Learn to resolve conflict. I need to stop avoiding conflict – and start
dealing with conflicts head on in a more constructive way. I’ll learn different
approaches to dealing with conflict – my preferred approach – and how and when
to use more effective approaches. I’ll then apply what I’ve learned and tackle
a lingering conflict that needs to be resolved.
learn a conflict resolution process and apply it to a nagging business issue
that I’ve been avoiding for way too long. 7. Be a better coach. I need to spend more time coaching
and developing my team. I’ll shift my leadership style away from always
directing and telling and learn to guide and develop my direct reports. I’ll
learn and practice the “G.R.O.W.” coaching model with each of my direct reports
until it becomes natural and a part of my leadership style.
step: I’ll practice asking
more open-ended questions and giving less advice when my employees come to me
it really means and takes to become a high performing “team”. I’ll do a formal
team assessment to learn about our strengths and weaknesses, then work with my
team to establish an action plan to improve. Possible improvement areas:
building trust, establishing structure and processes that encourage and enable
teamwork, and practice “shared leadership”.
Action step: I’ll conduct a session with my team (or any
team I’m on) to develop a list of team norms.
Senge and others and apply these proven models and techniques to a significant
change that I need to drive this year.
Action step: See above.
a “strategic challenge” project. Work with my manager to come up with a developmental “learn by
doing project”. Something above and beyond my regular duties that gives me an
opportunity to learn and apply new leadership skills. I’ll apply many of the
skills I’ve been working on under “live fire”, where the risks and rewards are
Action step: Select at least 3 of the goals above, complete
the steps and apply what I have learned to a specific challenge or project.
benefit you? If so, does it look overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be. You can
work on all 10 at the same time during our 6-day Leadership Certificate program!
The program includes a 360 assessment and other assessments with one-on-one
coaching. My colleagues and I at the University of New Hampshire will work with
you to develop each of these critical skills and more! Learn leadership lessons
from best in class business school faculty, executive coaches and peers using a
proven leadership development model. I hope to see you at our next program in
the fall of 2018!