By Kevin Eikeberry, co-founder of the Remote Leadership Institute.

2018 is within our reach, and hopefully, you’ve been thinking about the personal and team goals you want to achieve next year. But have you thought about your leadership goals? As a leader, it’s important to think about what you can do differently to better manage, inspire, motivate and guide your team. Some areas most leaders can focus on:

  • Communication. How can you improve communication with all your employees, specifically those remotes one you don’t see very often? Example: “I will schedule one-on-one conversations with remote employees every week.”
  • Efficiency. How can you make it easier for remote and on-site staff to work together? Example: “I will explain specifically what decisions team members can make without my approval so that they can problem-solve more effectively.”
  • Morale. How can you keep spirits and motivation high during stressful and busy times? How can you ensure employees, and specifically remote employees, haven’t disengage? Example: “During every one-on-one discussion, I will ask about obstacles, workloads and employees’ overall feelings about the work. If issues come up, I will take steps to address them within 48 hours.”

However, hitting those leadership goals (and making big improvements for your team) is about so much more than just setting goals. You have to reach them, and therein lies the problem for most people. Many people, even high-performing, exceptional leaders, never do.

There are lots of reasons that happens, not the least of which is that people treat the goal-setting process as an achievement, when it isn’t. We don’t set goals as the outcome. We set goals to get goals. Yes, setting them is a necessary first step, but achieving them is the real purpose, isn’t it?

So, as you set your goals, I propose that you answer these 10 questions to help ensure you actually hit them this year.

  • Why is achieving this goal important to me? This is the most important question of all. Without a clear and compelling reason why, you likely won’t do what is necessary to reach the goal. Answer this question and keep your answer clearly focused in your mind.
  • What will success look like? Visualize the end result in a three-dimensional way. Think about what you will be seeing, feeling and hearing when you reach this goal. This question helps your brain picture success in a more real way.
  • How will I benefit from reaching this goal? This connects the first two questions together and helps you see the value in the work and effort required to achieve your goal.
  • What is my first step? There is always a first step. It may be small, or it may be large. If it is a small step, it’s easy to get moving; however, complete a large step early, and you will feel a quick and immense sense of accomplishment. Either way, you need to establish that first step. Without it, you will stay right where you are.
  • What step will take me furthest, fastest? I love the first step question, but this is about leverage. You want to get moving, but you also want to move intelligently. Choose the actions that will have the biggest impact early. That’s key to staying motivated.
  • Who can help me achieve it? No person is an island. What tools and resources do others have that can assist you in reaching your goal? If you want to overhaul communication on your virtual team, you need buy-in from your team. Figure out how you will present your goal so that it becomes their goal too.
  • Who will support me? If you have cheerleaders – people who believe in you and your ability to reach this goal – share it with them. They’ll hold you accountable and keep you motivated when you slip up. Your cheerleaders might be a colleague, spouse or friend, or, maybe most effective, your employees. Let them know that you want to be a better leader, and ask them to hold you accountable for following through with your goals.
  • Who won’t support me? This list may be more important than the last one. Don’t let the nonbelievers taint your attitude, energy and belief. Those people don’t need to hear about your goal. Just quietly go about achieving it. Surprising them might be one of biggest rewards that comes with your success!
  • What will be my biggest barrier? Avoiding or denying it won’t help. Figure it out early and you are part-way to overcoming, reducing or sidestepping that barrier altogether.
  • How will I stay focused during the process? Reaching most goals takes time, energy and focus. Realizing that at the beginning and building a plan to stay focused and knowing how to get refocused is critical.

Those 10 questions can accelerate your goal achievement. If you have any goal today – whether new, in progress, or stalled – ask yourself these questions. Then put your answers to work.

More reading:

Learn how to track remote employees progress toward goals 

Avoid these three big reasons most teams fail to hit their goals

Also, sign up for our course Remote Goal Setting and Accountability, where you will learn how to:

  • Apply 7 keys to effective goal setting – beyond SMART goals
  • Identify and apply both process and results goals
  • Create goal achievement synergy with a remote team
  • Build a goal achievement plan that can be achieved remotely
  • Identify at least five ways to support remote team members in reaching their goals
  • Create clear accountability over the phone or other technology
  • Use a valuable accountability model
  • Track and monitor goals remotely

Register today! 

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