Setting Attainable New Year’s Resolutions

By Kim Hegeman 

As the calendar changes over to a new year, you may make some personal and professional new year’s resolutions. When it comes to professional resolutions, they can be a great idea for people in leadership positions.   

But professional new year’s resolutions need to have a purpose, strategy, and plan behind them. They need to be more than just resolutions for resolutions sake. 

First, let’s look at it as making new goals instead of resolutions. Yes, you are resolving to make a change or do something different, but new year’s resolutions have the tendency to be tossed out and often forgotten. Setting a “goal” might carry more weight and make it less likely to be said then forgotten.  

Dos and Don’ts of New Year’s Goals 

Before you set out your new year’s goals, take some time to think about the dos and don’ts that make goals successful. Keep in mind the SMART framework: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. 

  • Don’t make your goal too big or too difficult to keep 
  • Do set reasonable, realistic time frames for goal completion 
  • Don’t make a goal vague – be specific 
  • Do commit to these goals and set actionable steps 
  • Don’t pick goals just to have goals – set goals that have a purpose 
  • Do set realistic goals and a realistic number of goals that can be completed in a specific time frame 

8 Goals for Leaders 

Each organization and individual leader will have unique situations. However, there are some broader goals that all managers and leaders could benefit from. And if you already incorporate these practices into your management style, consider setting goals for improving and building upon these ideas. 

1. Provide Better Feedback 

When it comes to feedback, it doesn’t start and stop just at pointing out a mistake or area of improvement. Managers need to provide constructive, specific feedback. The goal shouldn’t be just to point out an area of improvement but to offer additional feedback on how to improve. It is also incredibly helpful to provide specific examples that reinforce your feedback so your team members can contextualize the feedback and make it actionable. 

You should also ask employees for their input. This engages employees, making them more active in the process, and provides an opportunity for employees to ask for more clarification or explanation. 

You can find more examples of providing feedback in our 10-minute webinar Preparing for Performance Reviews: What to Say and How to Say It. 

2. Be Clearer 

Sometimes managers share comments and objectives with employees but do not provide much information beyond that. Resolve to be clearer through providing further detail, specific direction, clearly defining goals, and eliminating ambiguity.  

If you are setting long-term goals break those down into short-term steps or targets towards achieving the long-term goal.  

3. Empower Employees  

When you empower your employees and coworkers to take responsibility for their work — and stop micromanaging where unnecessary — there can be several positive results. First, it frees up a manager’s time to focus on managerial tasks. Second, it gives employees a feeling of being valued and respected enough to be responsible for their work. 

Additionally, it can help develop independence and growth in employees. 

4. Recognize Hard Work 

This might be the easiest goal to achieve. It doesn’t take much time to say thank you or acknowledge when someone does a good job. Make an effort to positively recognize employees’ work more frequently. If you need to, put a reoccurring task on your to-do list or calendar to reach out to someone every week and say thank you.  

5. Emphasize Employee Wellness 

The last couple of years have been stressful. Changing to remote or hybrid work environments can sometimes lead people to feel isolated. The importance of mental and emotional health for our employees needs to be a focus. 

Managers need to be aware and empathetic when their employees are stressed out, burned out, or juggling too many things and encourage them to prioritize their mental and emotional health. Remember to check in with your team members regularly – not just to focus on tasks and work issues. Ask about their lives and how they’re doing outside of work. 

6. Be an Ally 

Focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion is high on the priority list for many organizations. Managers can, and should, be strong allies for their teams. Being an ally is about taking meaningful, actionable steps to increase inclusion efforts and behaviors. 

“Being an ally is not just a label…To me, allyship is action,” says Kate Schlesinger, CPED solutions advisor. Kate, who has completed the Professional Certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, continues to be an advocate for allyship and DEI.  

There is always an opportunity to improve and evolve as an ally. The Professional Certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a great program for leaders and teams to develop as allies in the workplace.  

7. Resolve to Improve Yourself as a Leader 

There is always room for improvement. After all, isn’t that the point of resolutions and goals? Many organizations and managers set goals for the overall improvement of the company. But it is important to look at your individual professional growth as well. 

Take some time to evaluate your strengths and areas for improvement as a leader. Maybe poll your employees and coworkers if you feel they will give honest answers.  

Or, consider where you are in your organization and career and what aspirations you have for your future. Self-improvement can include developing areas of your management style that may need improvement or gaining new skills and knowledge that may help you move laterally or vertically into a different role you would like to pursue. 

8. Invest in Employee Development 

In addition to looking at how you can improve as a manager, consider how you can help your employees and coworkers grow. Could your team benefit from diversity, equity, and inclusion education? Do you have a young team that needs leadership development training? Maybe you have even more unique needs. 

The good news is CPED offers custom development solutions tailored to your organization or team’s specific needs. A custom program through CPED is a great way to bring education and training to your organization.  

If you would like to meet with one of our experts, set up a Discovery Session and one of our Solutions Advisors will work with you to identify the resources needed to make sure your leaders are employing inclusive leadership.  

Whatever goals or resolutions you set this year, make sure they are realistic, attainable, and will help you grow in your leadership role. Wishing you the best of luck for the year ahead, and we hope you’ll consider CPED a partner in helping you achieve your professional goals.