Why You Should Write Out Your Leadership Goals

Why You Should Write Out Your Leadership Goals

Hi everyone! Hopefully you’ve had an amazing start to SPRING! (I’m capitalizing it because I’m shouting the word repeatedly at the moment.) We’re finally into May and perhaps closer to putting our April winter behind us. April took me through parts of Canada and the Midwest (Illinois, Iowa, Missouri) and I don’t recall the last time I saw snow in April. If you live in those parts of the country, I’d recommend moving to San Diego.

So now it’s May. We’re 1/3 of the way through the year, and all of my New Year’s resolutions are either a part of my life or gone completely. So, because I’m a masochist – which is true, I ran a half-Ironman once because I thought it would be fun, who does that??? – I thought I should come up with some new ones.

And since you probably have better things to do than come up with new resolutions, I thought I’d share mine with you.

Write Your Leadership Down in Words:

Forget the personality tests. Forget your spirit animal shape. Plain and simple, if asked to describe your leadership to others in words, how would you do it? Many of us haven’t taken the deliberate time to do so, despite the fact that you’re somewhere in the neighborhood of 40% more likely to reach your goals if you write them down.

To start, ask yourself some basic questions about the leader you are or the leader you want to be. For example:

  • As a leader, what do you believe to be true about yourself?
  • What are the guiding principles you try to live by or practice?
  • How to do tell someone they need to do a better job without making them hate you?

The questions above will move you in the right direction, but the point of the exercise is getting those thoughts and beliefs out in the open. Getting them out in the universe will help us with the next step in the process, which is….

Organize the Main Themes:

With 100% certainty, I can guarantee your leadership writings will be all over the place. If you’re lucky, though, they’ll be good individual thoughts. So now the job becomes wading through the clutter and finding common themes. Maybe you’ve written down a few phrases which can be combined into one powerful statement about your leadership.

Generally speaking, you’ll likely end up with a mix of beliefs and character traits. In my personal experience, it’s often easier to organize the beliefs first before tackling some of the character traits. For example, my leadership philosophy says:

  • I believe the success of my team determines my success as a leader.

From there, I can organize some of the character traits which accompany those beliefs (open communication, collaboration, etc.) and help make sense of the whole picture. However you organize it, you’ll find yourself spending intentional and deliberate time coming up with a leadership philosophy detailed enough to explain to others. Which leads us to our last step…

Hold yourself accountable to what you write.

Let’s pretend we were talking about setting some health goals. The best health goals are accompanied by some form of accountability. Maybe you sign up for a gym membership, or swear off dessert. Maybe you hire a trainer or work out with a friend. Either way, you intentionally create some form of accountability to keep you on track with your goals.

Same goes for leadership. If your leadership is organized around teamwork, then schedule your day to make sure you’re hearing from others or bringing new players to the table. If your leadership is geared around radical candor, then schedule some time for open, honest, anything-goes conversations. Just like the health goal example, we can talk all day about what great leaders we want to be, but there must be intentional action on the back end if you expect to be successful.

I hope you find this helpful. It was helpful to me to write this all down. See what I did there? I’m reinforcing my own message! Brilliant!!!!

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