“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”
– Ronald Reagan
As leaders, we focus the brunt of our attention and efforts on the team. However, to be the best leader you can be, you must also channel a bit of your focus inward. Those who consistently set a high bar for themselves are better equipped to inspire growth in their team members. A great technique for maintaining excellence in leadership is personal goal setting. Here are five goals all leaders should set for themselves:
- Lead by Example
We’ve all heard the saying “Do as I say, not as I do.” While it may be delivered with the best of intentions, it can also come off as hypocritical. The most influential way to manage a successful team is to lead by example. Best practices should be best practices for everybody, including the leader, so let your actions speak for themselves. Make it your goal to always be the mirror that your team should emulate.
- Listen More
Most leaders are known for their distinguished ability to share their instruction, wisdom and advice. But much can be learned from simply listening. Your team members are invested in the company’s success and work hard everyday to see it through. They undoubtedly have value input to offer as well. Set a goal to listen more often and take note of what your employees have to say. But don’t stop there. Listen to their fears, their triumphs and their stories about life outside of work. Listening to all of these things will help you better understand and connect with each team member, enabling you to tailor your leadership to their specific needs and circumstances.
- Use Feedback to Improve
Feedback is important, even when given unexpectedly. Of course, no one finds it easy to listen to others point out their shortcomings and mistakes. It can be frustrating and embarrassing to be confronted with not-so-great opinions on your leadership style or decisions you’ve made. Understandably so. But there are benefits to embracing the feedback you receive. Use your team member’s feedback to you advantage. Implement the advice worth taking and politely disregard the suggestions that won’t work.
- Learn Something New
There’s always something new to be learned. The world is ever-changing and so are our companies and fields of study. New developments are made everyday, requiring leaders to become lifelong learners. Staying on top of the latest and greatest methods of successfully managing a team will not only increase your knowledge, but will help your entire team stay informed. Read a book. Enroll in a class. Seek a mentor. Whatever you do, never stop pursuing knowledge.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
Leaders are charged with guiding people from all walks of life, education levels and personality types. It’s a huge undertaking to find a way to connect with each team member and unlock the perfect formula to produce growth. Managing to do so, while also being inspiring, compassionate and morally correct, is even more challenging. Fortunately, many leaders have figured out how to do just that. But in order to be a strong leader, you have to start with yourself. Use these four goal setting tips to set the gold standard.