10 Top Personal Development Goals for Leaders in 2024

10 Top Personal Development Goals for LeadersAs a leader, it is vital to look at yourself and understand what areas of improvement you have. Knowing what skills you need to develop allows you to make more strategic decisions and be a better leader in your organization, and this is where professional development comes in.

Related: Why Professional Development Is Important: 10 Ways to Climb the Career Ladder

The problem is that many leaders do not feel they have the time for professional development. Still, when time is allocated to participate in more varied learning opportunities, it inevitably makes you a more well-rounded management team member.

This post discusses our 10 top personal development goals for leaders that any manager or director needs to know about.

10 Top Personal Development Goals for Leaders

1. Time Management

A man in a suit jacket checking the time on his watch
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When it comes to managing your time as a leader, there are many things to consider, but it is arguably one of the most challenging skills to get right, and the pandemic of the last 2 years has not helped too much.

The thing about leadership teams is that they think that doing everything themselves is quicker and more accessible, but they really need to pull their heads up every now and again and see what is happening in their organization.

Some of the best tips to enhance your time management are the following:

  • Get better at delegating to your team(s).
  • Make time-based goals for yourself.
  • Prioritize business-crucial tasks.
  • Learn to switch off from emails.

Being a leader can be truly enhanced by finding more time in your day, so try the above tips and see if they work for you.

10 Top Personal Development Goals for Leaders

2. Become a great listener

An Asian women listening to a black female employee
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Being a leader is as much about listening as it is about doing.

On so many occasions, you will learn more by hearing what your team has to say and absorbing their insights, as they are the ones doing the on-the-ground job each and every day.

When you go into meetings, you might hear both positive and negative feedback from people who report to you, but do you know what, that’s totally fine; just make sure to take the feedback as intended and provide fair and balanced responses.

By ensuring that people see you are willing to sit down and listen to employees’ ideas will cement your reputation as a strong leader who listens to advice, even if it is out of your scope of experience or interest.

Here are a few tips to consider for how to become a quality listener:

  • Listen before speaking.
  • Ensure you are open-minded.
  • Make sure you can empathize.
  • Leave any judgment at the door.

Having terrific listening skills will only help you be truly successful in your leadership role. 

10 Top Personal Development Goals for Leaders

3. Strategic Thinking

Leaders sitting around a table having a strategic discussion
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As a leader, one of the most important skills you need to develop to help yourself and your fellow leaders is how to bolster your strategic thinking. This allows you to navigate through difficult situations and understand the best course of action for the organization to ensure it is well placed to succeed now and into the future.

Being strategic as a leader is also about hearing what your people need, how it aligns with business (strategic) goals, and making sure the right objectives are followed through.

Related: Development Areas for Managers: Strategic Thinking

Making strategy a part of the fiber of the organizations’ culture is the best way to ensure that you, other leaders, and employees always think about strategy when conducting their work.

We’ve listed some tips below on how to be a great strategic thinker:

  • Try to adapt to changing situations.
  • Make strategy a part of company culture.
  • Encourage employees to conduct their work strategically.
  • Lean into the future, don’t fear it. 

Being able to always have a strategic lens to how you think about work and people will, by definition, provide greater insight to your organization, and better decisions will be made, delivering better business outcomes.

10 Top Personal Development Goals for Leaders

4. Having difficult conversations

2 co-workers sitting together having a difficult conversation
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Having difficult conversations is very common for business leaders, although not many people are truly good at it.

The skills needed to effectively have difficult conversations, e.g., with an employee, takes time, effort, and practice to develop.

So as a leader, what can you do to better prepare yourself for these inevitable conversations?

Well, one thing you can definitely do is stay emotionally balanced, you should prepare yourself for emotional reactions from employees, but you must retrain yourself at all times.

These tough conversations happen often, and one of the best abilities you can develop is to have them with people without getting too emotionally involved.

Here are some of our favorite ideas to become better at having different conversations:

  • Be clear and concise.
  • Listen!
  • Expect an emotional response.
  • Hold your ground but be understanding.

Honestly, having these difficult conversations with people in your organization is one of the hardest things you’ll have to do in leadership. You should put in the time and dedicate yourself to developing these skills, whether that be learning from other leaders, working with an accredited leadership organization, or by taking on your own professional development, it all helps and will benefit you and your people.

10 Top Personal Development Goals for Leaders

5. Mentorship

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When you are a leader, one of the things you can offer to your business that is most well-received is definitely being a mentor.

People in your organization often look to leaders to help them with their problems, including other leaders or are seeking guidance to make their jobs easier.

You should prioritize aspects such as coaching, mentorship, and counseling as these skills will become invaluable to you becoming a great leader who is well known to need to be mentor’s.

Sit down regularly with your employees and try to understand their career aspirations and, more importantly, work with them to develop a plan to help them reach what they aspire to be.

These aspirations or goals are essential to your employees, and being available to help and coach them on how to attain these goals, will create trust and respect amongst staff. Just make sure that when you meet staff, you provide advice and feedback to help give structure to your team(s) achieve their potential.

Check out a few tips for being a mentor as a leader below:

  • Be available for your team(s).
  • Meet regularly to provide advice and feedback.
  • Listen carefully to what is being said to you.
  • Be open and honest.

The above tips will help you to be a genuinely transformative leader and mentor. Continue to develop your own mentorship and coaching skills, which will allow you to continually provide excellent advice and help to others in your organization.

10 Top Personal Development Goals for Leaders

6. Adapting to change

Company leadership meeting discussing change strategies
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The only constant in life is change, and when it comes to being a corporate leader, that couldn’t be truer.

Related: What It Means to Be an Adaptable Leader and Why It’s Important for Business Success

Leaders have to be able to pivot with funding, resources, operational support, amongst many other aspects of your business.

There is also a difference between for change and truly embracing it, and for you to help your company through whichever change management processes arise, you need to engulf yourself in change strategies.

Here are a few tips on adapting to change within leadership:

  • Be open and lean into changes
  • Don’t be afraid of trying new initiatives.
  • Be known for embracing organizational change.
  • Engage with change management experts.

Lastly, make sure you have a backup plan as not every initiative or company event goes to plan, but if you are prepared, plan diligently and always have a positive outlook. Any change will be a breeze to work through with your fellow leaders.

10 Top Personal Development Goals for Leaders

7. Identify potential new managers

Man helping a new female manager
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One of the most significant ways of developing your organization is to identify when existing employees are ready to make the step up into management.

We must be aware that not everyone in your business is management material. Some employees work best as individual contributors, but that is a decision you and your fellow leaders should make after an in-depth assessment.

Coaching, preparations, and feedback are fundamental to new manager development when assessing which employees could make good managers.

Being available when they need you and slowly putting them in positions to experience being a manager are some of the best ways to see how they may succeed (or not) within your company’s management structure.

Here are a few takeaway tips for identifying new managers:

  • Keep an eye on star employees.
  • Highlight success in your organization.
  • Identify gaps in skills and talent.
  • Continually assess your organizational structure.

Provide employees structure and encouragement, and you should be able to grow some fantastic managerial talent in your business.

10 Top Personal Development Goals for Leaders

8. Recognize your weaknesses

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Recognizing where your strengths are is essential, but even more important is establishing your weaknesses, what areas do you as a leader need to develop.

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, from being extremely humble to effortlessly strategic all the way to being downright arrogant and knowing which you are can start to help you in your journey of discovery.

According to the Harvard Business Review, more than 30% of leaders who they reviewed have 1 fatal flaw, which equates to a weakness that can become detrimental to their organization.

Unfortunately, most leaders are not really aware of their weaknesses, and ensuring you can find out what they are will help you in your leadership role.

Here are a couple of ways you can identify your leadership weaknesses:

  • Find someone who can be your “Truth Teller,” someone who can be honest with you and provide the truth when maybe others won’t. Also, you should make sure you self-reflect to make sure that you provide a safe space for people to be honest with you.
  • You can also hire a leadership consultant to work with you to help you do a self-assessment to find out where your weaknesses exist and develop an action plan on how to bolster your skills in these areas.

 Knowing your weaknesses is a great way to ensure you understand your skills or knowledge gaps and comprehend where your areas of development need to be, but also allows you to accentuate your strengths.

10 Top Personal Development Goals for Leaders

9. Remember to appreciate your people

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“Your people are your company” remember that quote as it will hold you in good stead for success. As a leader, you have to remember that we should be empowering our employees, thanking them as much as you can, and provide them the praise they deserve.

One of the other things you can do is to ask for feedback from your employees, more than likely, you will get what you are looking for as long as you keep open lines of communication. If you do solicit feedback from your staff, though, there will be an expectation that it will be used, so if you feel it is a good plan and will work in the organization, make sure you thank them, and use the provided, as this will show you believe in them.

Here are some things to remember about how to appreciate your employees:

  • Appreciation leads to motivation.
  • Being recognized allows employees to show their best selves.
  • You will be more trusted by your people.
  • You will be seen as a great leader who can empathize with your people to create success.

Lastly, try and put yourself in your employees’ shoes, even if you don’t fully understand all of their work.

This is important, as if you empathize with your subordinates, you will be more in tune with their needs, and then when you do thank them and show your gratitude, it will be noticed and applauded.

10 Top Personal Development Goals for Leaders

10. Provide constructive, consistent feedback

2 female co-workers sitting down and having a conversation
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Leaders are looked up to by their employees to help them develop in their roles, and a key part of doing that is the ability to provide constructive feedback.

When your employees have their back to the walls with constant work, they want positive feedback to give them a stepping stone to greater success in their roles. You can do this by using your teams’ 1:1’s and performance reviews.

You can ask them how their work and personal lives are going, strike up more informal conversations, and provide congratulations and thanks.

Related: A Manager’s Guide To Giving Feedback That People Actually Want

Here are our last tips of this post, focusing on providing feedback, check them out:

  • Always be positive.
  • Feedback is a 2-way street.
  • Provide your employees to absorb your feedback.
  • Provide feedback that actively helps them in their careers.

Also, when any staff member comes to you asking for advice, requesting a work critique, or something more in-depth, give them your time and help them with the development of an action plan with real-world examples to assist them.

The last thing is to ensure the feedback is consistent and ongoing; try to have regular meetings with your staff and provide positive feedback. They will feel more valued and have a stronger sense of belonging to the business by doing this.

Related: What is a Personal Learning Environment (PLE)?

Tips to Achieve Your Goals

personal development

A true leader understands the importance of working hard and staying dedicated. The journey to success starts with setting clear goals. By staying focused, you can reach your goals more effectively and quickly. We will share some fantastic tips that can help you achieve your goals.

Working on Personal Relationships

Unity in a team is strong when working in a mature environment. It becomes productive when the personal element and relationship between leaders and members are nurtured. Engage in honest communication for good results. Earning trust from each member helps strengthen the group. By doing this, there’s a scope to learn from everyone, making the group or club more innovative.

Develop Commitment and Meet Challenges

personal development

Leaders should focus on personal development goals by finding new, fulfilling, and exciting job challenges. This scope helps develop commitment in every individual to meet work challenges. This approach towards challenges would reflect your personality, making it easier to solve problems. It’s a great way to improve continuously for a better future.

Working on Personal Develop a Growth Mindset and Be Positive

personal development

Having a positive, progressive mindset can help an individual grow. It’s about collaborating and communicating well and wanting to help others. Always looking for new chances to learn helps leaders find smart ways to do things.

Related: Unique Ways to Promote Professional Development in the Workplace

Benefits of Personal Development

Top 10 personal development goals for leader

Focusing on personal growth isn’t just good for becoming a good leader; it also boosts your career. Let’s look at the benefits in detail.

Leaders Get to Know What They Want to Do

By continuously improving yourself, you’ll learn more about what you’re good at and want to achieve. You’ll discover what’s really important to you and what you believe in, which will help you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing in both your personal life and your job.

You'll Be Motivated

Top 10 personal development goals for leader

You must set clear and achievable targets to fulfil your personal development plan. Tracking your progress makes you more productive, whether carrying out tasks set at work, study, or home. If you are working on your personal development, then you will be able to do your duties at a high standard and be motivated to achieve your goals.

Improve Your Career

personal development

Personal development helps you improve your job and reach your career goals. It shows employers you want to learn and grow, making you stand out. This way, you get closer to your dream role and thrive in your work.

Leaders Get a Better Work-Life Balance

Top 10 personal development goals for leader

Feeling fulfilled in your career is more achievable with personal development. It helps improve your work-life balance by carrying out learning and development activities, thus improving morale and confidence.

Final Thoughts

Being a leader means you have lots of different things you need to consider and act on. You have many requests to deal with, decisions to make, and meetings to attend.

Good leaders can manage their time really well to fit in everything they need to do and be available when their people need them.

We all know being a leader is about making a difference for your company making the best decisions to move forward based on a strategic plan.

We’ve spoken about a lot of different aspects of leadership that you should attempt to develop, let’s take a look at what they were again:

  • Time Management
  • Become a great listener
  • Strategic thinking
  • Having difficult conversations
  • Mentorship
  • Adapting to change
  • Identify potential new managers
  • Recognize your weaknesses
  • Remember to appreciate your people
  • Provide constructive, consistent feedback

Whether you are a seasoned leader or new to a leadership position, developing the above skills will assist you in becoming a memorable leader, a leader that people trust and believe in, and someone who makes critical decisions in the best interest of their business.

Being a leader in the business world is a varied and demanding job, but you will inevitably find times where it all comes together, employees trust your mission, your fellow leaders believe in you and allow you to succeed, and you work outside of the box, great things can happen.

So, if you’re ready to take the plunge into developing your skills to become a better business leader, take a shot at utilizing any of our 10 top personal development goals for leaders in this post, and let us know how they helped you in your roles.

Go for it leaders and leaders in waiting. We trust you and have faith you can become the change you want to see. 

Catch you soon!

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