self development objectives

Want To Become A Better Manager? Create Self-Development Objectives

By Baili Bigham

At 15Five, we believe that to build a world-class workplace, every employee must be able to bring their best self to work each day. But this doesn’t happen by chance. Most of the responsibility falls on managers to help employees develop and leverage their unique strengths. And just as managers aim to unlock the potential of their people, it’s important to unlock their own potential in order to become an effective coach.  

According to Dr. Jeff Smith, a cognitive psychologist and Director of 15Five’s Best-Self Academy, great managers must invest in their own health and wellbeing and adopt a continuous love of learning to become the best coach they can be.

The importance of investing in yourself

In challenging times, it’s more important than ever to focus inward on your own wellbeing. Stress and hardship might be unavoidable, but in setting and achieving goals for your own self development, you’ll be more equipped to manage others effectively. 

One way you can create a practice around personal growth is through setting self-development objectives, both for yourself and the people you manage. In doing so, you’ll intentionally carve out the time for goals outside of work, and create accountability for yourself and your team.

Through self-development objectives, you can invest in improving yourself and your entire team without spending a dime. Then, you can fill in the gaps with targeted programming that reflect the core values of your organization. 

Creating habits that actually stick

Once you’ve identified the self-development objectives that matter to you and your team, (we recommend limiting them to two or three), the next step is finding sustainable ways to make them stick.

Here are five tips to keep in mind when creating self-development objectives so that they’re both manageable and measurable.

1. Use what you learn right away. Practice makes perfect and most of us learn by doing.
2. Learn things that matter and relate to your “why.” Get specific about what you want to learn and use that as motivation.
3. Make it easy to learn. Remove barriers and create reminders that will naturally trigger you to apply what you’re learning.
4. Set meaningful goals. Make goals personal and related to how you define success at work.
5. Increase accountability. Creating self-development objectives as a team helps to build shared expectations into your norms.

Making space for yourself, even during challenging times

Self-development objectives are helpful for when times are good, but they’re even more beneficial when hardships occur. Goal setting encourages a learning mindset that helps builds resilience and allows us to bounce back during moments of stress.

As a manager, it’s your job to model the type of behavior you expect from your team. When you choose to cut your learning journey short, it’s difficult to help others navigate their own development. Instead, create meaningful self-development goals and share your progress with your team, create habits that stick, and continue growing alongside your team.

To learn more about manager and self development in the new world of work, watch Jeff’s recent webinar here.

Baili Bigham is the Content Manager at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, OKR tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and 360° reviews. When Baili isn’t writing, you can find her binge-reading a new book or strategizing ways to pet every dog in San Francisco. 

Image credit: Shutterstock


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