How Successful Leaders Stay On Track And Focused On Their Goals
It’s the job of a leader to make sure the organization functions as a well-oiled machine. Organizational abilities become even more important when you act as a leader. After all, people turn to you for inspiration, and it will hardly be inspiring if they see you freaking out. So, how successful leaders stay on track and focused on their goals?
If you’re like most leaders, you have different goals that you’re trying to reach — some of them short-term, others long-term.
Of course, it’s the long-term goals that can be the most challenging, the most draining. You have them in the back of your mind each day, yet it can feel like you’re not really making progress. Even when you work hard at meeting these goals, it can feel like nothing’s really changing, or that you’ll never be able to cross it off your to-do list.
It takes discipline to stay focused on your goals and avoid turning your attention to the latest technology or leadership buzzword.
Failing to organize will often lead to chaos or, at the very least, an increase in stress levels. This occurs as you attempt to make sense of everything that surrounds you for the sake of making life easier. That’s why strong organizational skills are key to being a successful leader.
Leaders are responsible for directing their own attention, but also that of their people.
Since people tend to do what they feel is important for their leader, they are likely to concentrate on the goal that they feel is important for the organization — and their leaders — at a specific point in time. People make their choices about where to focus based on their perception of what matters to leaders.
That’s why great leaders need to actively pursue focus, and to cultivate habits that keep them on track toward meeting their goals.
There are tons of things lying in wait to distract you from your ultimate goals. You may envy those you see that seem to have it all together — organized, polished and ready for any situation, at any time. If you want to be prepared for what lies ahead, read on to learn the tips and tricks that successful and organized leaders used to stay on track and focused on their goals.
Tip #1 : Clean Up The Mess
It’s easy to look up at 6 p.m. and realize you haven’t checked anything off your to-do list because you’re spending too much time solving everyone else’s problems. Resolve that by prioritizing your time to deal with big, strategic issues. And train your team to manage their time better and rely less on you.
As the leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that things run like clockwork.
This is only possible by having a firm understanding of what it is to be organized. Poor time-management is at the root of so many issues within a company. Failure in this area will lead to you being unable to stay on the task in front of you. It won’t take much before it all comes crashing down, resulting in you being viewed as rather unreliable.
Furthermore, planning your day in advance will remove your easiest decisions from the table, making it easier to avoid getting sidetracked and wasting time on unimportant things.
Make a decision the night before that you won’t check your emails or surf the net before you have finished the more important tasks that need to be completed. Stick to your schedule and at the end of the day close your eyes for a few minutes and take in how good you feel to be in charge of your day.
Be aware that some tasks just aren’t important enough to get done at all, especially at crunch time.
People tend to try to bite off more than they can chew. Work with your team to identify those tasks that just aren’t valuable and can be scrapped or deprioritized. Be sure everyone agrees before something gets set aside; it’s not an area where you want confusion or misaligned expectations.
Besides, planning makes organizing easier, but we are often lacking when it comes to being able to plan ahead.
Again, poor planning leads to disorganization and more pressure on you. Conversely, having a plan signals to others that you have thought of everything, even if the timelines are tight and the workload high. If, after you outline a strategy, it proves impossible to get it all done, having a plan helps you definitively demonstrate the issues and acts as a starting point for a discussion on how to pivot and adjust.
Goal planning helps both you and your employees get your goal into focus.
Writing goals down also provides peace of mind. Research shows that within one hour, people will have forgotten an average of 50% of the information you talked to them about. After you’ve written your goals down, you and your employees don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll remember things, you can focus on actually accomplishing tasks.
Tip #2 : Keep Your Eyes on The Prize
Don’t let the day-to-day stuff swamp you, and distract from the big thing you’re trying to accomplish. Have your long-term goals written down, clearly articulated, and somewhere where you can remind yourself as often as you need to of what you’re really trying to do.
Having fully formed long-term goals in mind is a great way to keep yourself focused and “plugged in” to what you’re doing.
Create a vision board, a mind movie, or some system that serves as a constant reminder of what you are working toward. The “why” behind the goal is crucial as it will serve as a motivator. And that clarity will also help your team see the desired goals more clearly, too. And their morale will benefit from having a leader who seems to do everything deliberately, with the next several steps already planned.
That fact is that the average manager spends less than 30 minutes a day talking with employees.
It’s understandable, you’re very busy, but make that time count by discussing the future of the company and where they fit in to make that future happen. Not surprisingly, only 40% of employees are familiar with their company’s goals, strategies, and tactics. Without an understanding of the role they play in the company, employees are more likely to be unsuccessful and disengaged.
Strategy without execution is meaningless. Execution without engaged people is impossible.
By creating relevance and telling the stories of the business in a way that makes sense to their people, leaders will begin to successfully engage their people to execute strategy. The only way to bridge the gap is to provide everyone with a comprehensive, board-level understanding of the most strategic business issues. For any strategy or change initiative to truly be successful, organizations need to help employees feel engaged in the big picture so they can help bring it to fruition.
Too often, big-picture questions are dismissed as important, but not necessarily urgent for business.
But gaining a clear vision is the most important thing you can do to propel your business forward — with everyone aligned behind and empowered to make that vision a reality. Leadership needs to focus on seeing the big picture before anything else. t’s easy to feel caught up in the present, stuck in today, and unable to think toward tomorrow. But being a leader is all about the ability to look forward. Then you go back and rally the troops who will make that possible.
Tip #3 : Keep Your People On Board
Collaboration is one of the organizational skills that makes life easier all around. The only problem is that it does require organization on your part. Not organizing leaves you in a position of searching for help when it should be plain sailing.
Effective leaders leverage servant leadership to keep their goals within reach.
Making yourself helpful to your team rather than bossing them around and expecting them to deliver, leads to long term effectiveness. As they start to achieve goals on their own, their confidence in their own abilities will grow. Self-confidence in employees is key: a confident employee may feel more comfortable working with others and taking on new projects.
Besides, delegation is an art form and one of the most important organizational skills, and not everyone has mastered it.
It’s impossible to handle each aspect of a project yourself, and that is where delegating tasks to team members can help. Being aware of who is best for a particular task prevents feelings of overwhelm, which will free you to oversee each aspect of the project. Talent is a strategic asset just like any other — so work with your team to make sure they’re finding lots of creative ways to put their own talents to work in pursuit of a shared goal.
Being humble and respecting people around them is one more quality that makes leaders successful.
Great leaders believe that no one person is superior or inferior to anyone; everyone has their set of challenges to face and their way of solving them. So they tend to learn from everyone around them. Don’t derail your employees’ confidence with micromanagement. Instead, focus on what really matters and leave the rest up to your employee.
There are going to be times when leadership frustrates you because you won’t have the answers.
And that’s sort of the way it’s supposed to work. But there are also certainly going to be moments you’ll identify as teaching opportunities. Use these sparingly so you don’t give the impression of being a micro-manager, but definitely spot them when they arrive and give tasteful constructive criticism when you see things might be going off-track.
Tip #4 : Don't Be Stubborn
Most successful people have changed themselves from time to time according to the world, but haven’t forgotten their goals and plans. Being open to change is a refreshingly cool trait to have. This shows how flexible you are and how well you can handle yourself in case of any uncertainty.
The best leaders constantly question their own beliefs and welcome dissenting points of view.
Sadly, our culture celebrates people who have the willpower to resist the influence of others. Conversely, we tend to see receptiveness to alternative points of view as a sign of weakness. So it’s no surprise that many business leaders are quick to double down on their ideas and refuse to change their minds.
In a culture obsessed with conviction, leaders that go out of their way to be persuaded can appear at best foolish and at worst crazy. In fact, they’re neither.
These leaders have powerful advantages. First, people who are willing to change their opinions as circumstances change see the world more clearly. Being persuadable also makes leaders more agile. Because persuadable leaders treat their beliefs as temporary, they’re able to more quickly abandon old beliefs in favor of a new one. That helps them beat out their competitors.
Smart leaders don’t tell people what they should think, they surround themselves with great thinkers and then consistently seek their insights, observations, and opinions.
Subjecting yourself to dissenting opinion allows you to refine your good ideas, weed-out the bad ideas, and acquire new ideas. Moreover, it’s the ability to evolve and nuance thinking that leads to the change and innovation your organization needs to survive. People are looking for authentic, transparent leaders willing to sacrifice their ego in favor of right thinking.
New decisions may look like totally new decisions, but all are iterations of the previous decision, developed through better information, clearer thinking or in response to new, external challenges.
But if employees can’t see the logic jumps you took to go from the old decision to the new one, it’s very easy for them to assume you are simply changing your mind. This can obviously have an impact on motivation and engagement. You should present the updated thinking process or new information that led to the new decision, but also why the new decision is necessary. New decisions must be both logical and necessary, particularly if the new decision creates upheaval.
Tip #5 : Chunk Moonshots
There are lots of philosophies concerning how to divide tasks among a team and what’s the best way to track multiple tasks and goals. One of the difficulties with achieving great things is knowing how to get there. Every book you read was written by someone who completed a book. You can see the final product, but you can’t see all of the steps required to get there.
Let’s start by chunking the huge into the manageable.
Simply having a dream doesn’t make it a reality. In order to move closer to your goals, you need to take action. How can you actually take that next step? How can you set yourself up for success to start that one thing? It helps to think about “chunking” things into manageable-sized pieces and actions. Start anywhere but start. You might not be able to accomplish them in full by next month or next quarter. But you can do the next thing.
A big goal can make you overwhelmed, so decide on a course of action that will help you divide the task into manageable small chunks.
Writing down your divided goals, that when clubbed together constitutes your big goal, is a great idea. This way, you will have a to-do list that will bring you closer to your main goal without making you worry about the number of things that need to be done. It also makes sticking to the goals easier, because you can see instant results and feel good about completing each task.
As you work through your goal, you should periodically revisit your overall goal to make sure the chunks are taking you in the right direction.
The majority of your focus, however, should be on the next step. It’s easy to get caught up worrying about how many pieces you have to achieve in order to accomplish your goal. To avoid that worry, complete one step, then move on to the next one. Trust in your ability to set goals and make adjustments as needed.
Framing in big chunks can make us feel impotent — it seems like such a lot of time, effort and sacrifice to do what it takes to make it happen.
Taking small actions everyday builds momentum and increases motivation. Being able to make a movie of what you will do in present time sets up a template. Mental rehearsal is an effective way to get things done. Even if it is something that’s really big and scary, if you break it down into, “What can I take on in the next N days?” it will really help you move towards some of those bigger goals.
Being organized doesn’t guarantee you can do it all, but it can help you set clear expectations about what is possible. Use these tips to get into some consistent habits and many of the other behaviors of the successfully organized will fall into place.
As a leader, it’s essential to keep employees feeling pumped up and ready to work.
However, without your own motivation your team’s overall performance will start to decrease. By bettering yourself along these lines, it will lead to not only a greater sense of confidence in yourself, but also towards those that look to you for both guidance and inspiration.
You can meet your long-term goals — and you can do it by maintaining focus and energy.
Think about how you want to keep better track of your tasks, and how you want to keep those around you informed. It’s not always about doing more, but it certainly is about doing what you do well, and making sure key people know about it, which will help you get ahead in any organization.
It is the duty of a leader to encourage and nurture his/her focus toward his/her goals.
And it requires him or her to know him/herself first, know the conditions they are operating in, and engage with their people constantly in order to maintain a clear, as well as current message to them. It is not so difficult, if you think about it, however reflection is a major part of it and clarity is definitely key.
What you stay focused on will grow. It’s up to you.
Effective goal setting and tracking is the best way to achieve your dreams. Use these tips to help you and your team get on the right track to a brighter future. Let me know what you have to say by commenting below!
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.