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10 Goals for the New Year Every Manager Should Have

Set goals for the new year to become a better manager and start the year with a bang with these 10 professional development goals.

By Hannah Ross  •   January 5, 2023  •   8 min read

The new year presents an excellent opportunity to start fresh. Come January, it’s time to hit the ground running and start working on becoming the best manager you can be. Whether you intend to sharpen your own personal skills, develop people on your team, or strike the perfect work-life balance, the new year is the perfect time to put your game plan into action. 

In this article, we’ll dive into the importance of setting developmental goals for the new year while detailing 10 professional development goals that you can work towards to become the best manager you can be.

Why should managers set professional development goals for the new year? 

Professional development goals are objectives that you can set for yourself or direct reports to help further both of your careers. These goals may include anything from taking steps to learn new skills, expanding your professional network, or finding ways to gain more satisfaction at work. While it’s important for you to set professional development goals for the new year, it’s equally important for you to empower your direct reports to do the same. By setting measurable and attainable goals for your direct reports, you can not only enhance employee performance and engagement, but you can also move the needle closer to reaching greater organizational goals. 

Setting goals for the new year is important as doing so provides you and your teammates with a framework you can use to reach major milestones. Setting goals in the new year will ensure you and your teammates are able to hit the ground running with a clear purpose. Knowing that you’ve started working on your goals in January will make it easy to track your progress throughout the year so you can measure how far you’ve come. Without goals, you’ll lack focus and clarity.

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10 professional development goals for the new year every manager should have 

1Learn how to run effective one-on-one meetings

Learning how to run effective one-on-one meetings is extremely important for a whole host of reasons. These meetings help you build trust with your peers, provide a safe space for private conversations, help to unblock your teammates, foster an environment where you can exchange positive or constructive feedback, proactively address issues, follow up on key performance indicators (KPIs), and coach your teammates towards successful careers.

Part of hosting an effective one-on-one meeting means preparing beforehand, and that all starts with sourcing a comprehensive one-on-one meeting agenda template. With Fellow, you can simply select a prebuilt template with recommended talking points, customize it to suit your needs, and bring it to life with your direct reports during your next one-on-one meeting. Fellow makes it possible for you to drive productivity before, during, and after every meeting.

2Learn how to identify future leaders on your team

You’re only as good as the weakest member of your team, and excellent managers are able to recognize when it’s time for them to step aside and let someone else shine. Identifying future leaders on your team not only means that you have the ability to shape them into future superstars, but it also means that you can begin to delegate and give them more responsibility. Identifying future leaders that will supersede you when you move on or step aside is one of the greatest legacies you can leave behind as a manager. 

3Learn how to get buy-in

Knowing how to get buy-in and motivate your employees is one of the most powerful skills you can possess as a manager. Achieving buy-in amongst your employees or direct reports is crucial when your organization may face challenges that put a strain on your employees. Without buy-in, your teammates won’t feel inclined to persevere and buckle down when the going gets tough. 

4Learn how to maintain a good work-life balance

Maintaining a good work-life balance can be difficult, but the benefits of doing so are unmatched. Working too much can lead to stress that ultimately impacts your personal life and may hinder your relationships with your friends and family. Working too little may mean you aren’t able to find success in your career, or you may ultimately fall behind or start missing deadlines. Striking the perfect work-life balance means you’re able to find a happy medium so you can feel happy and fulfilled in both your personal and professional life. 

5Learn how to give your team praise 

Everyone appreciates praise for a job well done, and yet many managers fail to recognize the importance of expressing gratitude and giving praise. Not only does giving praise to your employees boost morale and create a happier, healthier work environment, but doing so also makes employees feel appreciated and helps with retention. If your employees feel valued and appreciated, you’re more likely to retain top talent.

6Improve your mentor skills

As a manager, one of your core duties should be to develop those you manage. Not only are you responsible for their success in their current roles, but you should also strive to set them up for long-term success in their careers. Developing your mentorship skills will ensure you have the tools, skills, and knowledge necessary to serve as an effective mentor

Whether you choose to mentor someone within your organization or not, mentoring is equally beneficial to you as it is to the mentee. Not only will you develop skills that will serve you in your leadership journey, but serving as a mentor also provides you with opportunities to rekindle old relationships or nurture new ones. 

7Improve your multitasking skills

Every manager knows that there’s a never-ending list of tasks that needs to get done at all times. Whether you’re scheduling one-on-ones, ensuring that projects meet their deadlines, or wrapping up a meeting with other senior-level executives, you’re always going to have a full plate and you’re always going to have to multitask. Improving your multitasking skills in the new year will ensure you don’t get overwhelmed or burned out when it comes to managing multiple projects. You’ll be able to accomplish tasks faster and do so with ease! 

8Improve your active listening skills

Active listening is the act of providing your undivided attention to another person while they communicate information. In this scenario, being an active listener means listening intently to your direct reports and demonstrating that you’ve heard them through various acts. Whether it’s making improvements that appeal to their concerns, empowering them with additional tools or resources they mentioned they need, or simply letting them know that you value their feedback, what’s most important is making your employees feel heard and understood. 

While active listening may not come naturally to some, it’s an invaluable communication skill that will continue to serve you in both your professional and personal life. 

9Learn your team’s learning styles and how to motivate each style

Learning your team’s learning styles and identifying how to motivate each one is an unmatched skill. The reality of the situation is that no two team members will be motivated by the same factors. Some may be motivated by growth opportunities, some may be motivated by monetary incentives, and others may be motivated by positive reinforcement. Taking the time to learn what motivates each one of your direct reports and learning how to appeal to those motivators is an invaluable skill. 

10Develop a growth mindset 

Possessing a growth mindset means you’re constantly willing to grow and evolve as you meet new challenges. This means that you’re willing to improve through effort, learning, and persistence, and you approach challenges or budding opportunities with an open mind. Where others may back down in the face of adversity, you take the bull by the horns and move forward with confidence. 

Those who possess a growth mindset are less likely to become discouraged in the face of adversity as they have the tools necessary to reframe the situation by envisioning the challenge as a learning opportunity. Managers with this mindset are more apt to feel empowered and content when compared to those who aren’t able to embrace a growth mindset. 

Best practices for achieving your goals 

Setting and achieving goals is a crucial part of career development, and the new year is an excellent time to get started on goals you’ve always dreamt of pursuing. After you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to get to work on seeing them through. To help you achieve your goals, we’ve taken the time to round up 10 tips that you can leverage to hit the ground running in January. 

Consider these best practices when working towards your goals for the new year: 

  • Create an action plan
  • Set a timeline and stick to it
  • Create positive reinforcements 
  • Consider all obstacles or hurdles
  • Set attainable and clearly defined goals
  • Tell others about your goals and seek accountability partners
  • Consider your environment and pivot accordingly
  • Set aside time to see your goals through to fruition
  • Embrace a growth mindset and visualize your goals
  • Track your progress and celebrate wins along the way 

Are you ready to set your goals for the new year?

New Year’s resolutions come and go, but attainable goals remain. This time next year, you’ll thank yourself for identifying your goals, creating an action plan, and seeing your goals through to fruition. You’re one step closer to becoming the manager you were destined to be. 

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