Goal setting is a smart practice for all workplace professionals. Setting goals can help provide focus, order, direction and inspiration to your work life.
Start by reviewing the past. Take a look in the rearview mirror during the past year. What are you most proud of accomplishing? What did you learn? Identify any workplace disappointments: What didn’t you accomplish? How did you get in your own way? This is an important exercise because what we are unconscious about can rule us.
As an executive and leadership development coach, I have suggested (and gleaned from clients) many workplace resolutions designed to increase leadership and the health and performance of teams and organizations. Here are a few to consider:
- Become an extraordinary listener. Listen more than you speak. Everyone has heard the old saying, we have two ears and one mouth, so use them proportionately, but few heed this advice. I have never heard a leader criticized for listening too much — only too little. It’s difficult to get input (and therefore buy-in and commitment) when you are in “tell” mode.
- Put time aside each day for reflection, planning and prioritization. Franklin Covey suggests starting each day with a 15-minute check-in identifying your priority tasks vs. items that would be nice to get done today. Knock out your priority tasks first. This will help you stay focused rather than frantic and in “firefighting” mode each day.
- Establish a procedure to capture ongoing learnings, such as a debrief or postmortem following projects, meetings or presentations. Keep asking two questions: What can I (we) learn from this experience? How can I (we) improve this next time?
- Keep adding to your skills and workplace tool bag. Learning something new will keep you engaged and interested. Being a lifetime learner will be essential to thriving in this new world economy. Read books, take courses, trainings, etc., that help you further develop your workplace skills. Wise organizations will invest in further training and development of their most valuable asset — their people.
- Find a mentor or coach. This should be someone you can confide in, learn from and who will model best practice for you (someone with the necessary time and energy to partner with you). Professional coaches provide a confidential third-party, nonbiased perspective; they can help guide, challenge and support you in becoming the best you can be this year.
- Don’t try to do it all. Delegate more. Help those under you grow by giving them opportunity (and lighten your own load for your work/life balance). When delegating, do so with clear parameters of freedom (like budget, time, etc.), specify what success looks like and provide necessary resources. Consider outsourcing if necessary instead of asking you or your people to give up personal lives.
- Do a reality check. Find out how you are perceived by others. Inquire and be curious (not defensive) about how your actions and words affect your co-workers. Take a 360-degree feedback survey (a multirater review that gives you feedback from all around you: boss, clients, co-workers and direct reports).
- Increase your self-awareness. Not knowing what we don’t know can be a killer. (How many times have we heard, “I never saw that coming!”) Identifying your behavior patterns under conflict, stress or when challenged can be enlightening. Do you point fingers at others or take personal responsibility? Do you give away your personal authority or approach challenges collaboratively, calmly and openly? Dysfunctional emotional intelligence patterns can stall a career. I equate leadership development ultimately to self-development. It’s a worthwhile journey.
- Get in touch with your inner authentic voice. Sometimes it’s hard to even hear our own voices due to the “noise” of others, the “shoulds” or outside pressures. Find some quiet time to reflect on what matters to you. Think about the big life questions: what are your values, your purpose, why are you here and what do you want to accomplish?
- What is your career vision for the next 5 and ten years? What do you want to create? Write it down, along with your plan. Research demonstrates that the act of writing down goals is powerful.
The challenge for most people, of course, is sticking to their goals. Whatever your goals, keep them to a manageable and a realistic number of goals. To increase the likelihood you will keep yours, find a coach or support person to help you keep focus and accountable for what you want to achieve.
Invest in yourself by hiring me as your career coach! I can help you learn, develop and grow your leadership and emotional intelligence abilities. I coach professionals all over the world via Skype. Call me: 360 682 5807 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org