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16 Leadership Goals Every Business Leader Should Have



16 Leadership Goals Every Business Leader Should Have

Outstanding leadership is key to any organization’s success. Without it, a business is prone to low morale and frequent turnover. One way to help yourself grow as a leader is to set actionable, trackable leadership goals. These goals should be focused on addressing your weaknesses and building upon your strengths.

Whether you’re a seasoned leader, or you’ve just stepped into your first management role, you should always make a point to improve your leadership skills. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve put together everything you need to know about setting leadership goals and what goals you should focus on.

What are leadership goals?

How to Set Leadership Goals

Leadership SMART Goals

Leadership Goals Examples

What are leadership goals?

Leadership goals are objectives aspiring leaders set that typically pertain to improvements in communication and fostering healthy relationships — both of which create healthy, happy, and productive work environments.

As a leader, you should always assess your skills and look for ways to grow and improve. Maybe you’re excellent at organizing data for meetings but could work on your public speaking skills, or you excel at conflict-resolution but could still be a better active listener.

Goal-setting is key to effective leadership that can keep up with evolving industries. If you consistently set goals for your leadership style, both your employees and your business will benefit.

How to Set Leadership Goals

Your strengths and weaknesses as a leader may not be the same as the next person’s, so it’s important to tailor your leadership goals. It helps to take the time to sit down and write exactly what you want to accomplish. You can get started by first identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Then, you’ll want to choose one or two weaknesses you want to improve at a time.

After you’ve chosen the weakness (or weaknesses) you’d like to improve, set three or four development goals —and build a road map to achieve them. As you work toward your goals, track your progress. Once you’ve achieved your goals, reassess your leadership skills, choose new areas to work on, and set new goals.

Leadership SMART Goals

SMART leadership goals are leadership goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.


What is your exact goal as a leader? Saying you want to be a better listener is too vague of a leadership goal in this case. However, saying you want to lessen the amount of times your colleagues have had to repeat themselves by 10% is much more specific.


Whatever your goal is needs to be measurable with quantitative data. Examples include wanting to improve revenue by 20%, cutting production costs in half, or expanding your team by adding 15 more people. All of these goals can be quantified.


It’s important to set realistic goals. It’s great to have ambitious goals, but they shouldn’t be impossible. For example, a goal to quadruple your company’s revenue within the month may not be realistic, however, a goal to increase revenue by 20% each quarter is much more attainable.

Setting goals that are far too ambitious can result in burnout, missed deadlines, decreased morale, and high employee turnover.


Your leadership goals should be clearly connected to the overall project you’re working on. For example, if you want to improve your brand’s social media presence, then having a goal specifically connected to raising engagement on Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok is relevant.


Give yourself a reasonable timeframe to complete your goals. For example, let’s say you want to improve your active listening skills by reducing the number of times colleagues have had to repeat information by 50%. To make this goal timely, you could give yourself three months to reach that goal.

16 Leadership Goals Examples

Here are 16 leadership goals every business leader should have:

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1. Become a more active listener.

Effective leaders don’t just provide guidance, they also listen — that’s why improving active listening is an important leadership goal. Employees want to feel heard and know their voices matter. By hearing your team members and colleagues out, you can gain insight into new perspectives and discover ideas to move your business forward.

Active listening means giving the person who is speaking your full, undivided attention. You’re not just listening to their words, you’re consciously analyzing what you hear, paying close attention to the intent, content, and emotion of the speaker.

Pro Tip: Schedule a weekly meeting with at least one person who directly reports to you in order to practice active listening.

2. Learn to gracefully accept constructive criticism.

A key to improving any skill is to learn to take constructive criticism. Being open to upward feedback can help give insight into areas into how you can improve your workplace’s day-to-day. Empowering your staff to provide feedback on your or the company’s performance can also boost morale and lower turnover.

Pro Tip: Send out surveys and create spaces for your employees to provide upward feedback. Set a goal to increase the number of employees providing feedback by a certain percentage, such as 20% by the end of a quarter.

3. Be adaptable to growth and change.

No matter your industry, you should always be prepared to adapt to new developments. This was especially clear during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when businesses had to swiftly adjust their business models to a changing economy and the norm of working from home.

The keys to being adaptable are developing backup strategies, creating a strong support system around the office, and not getting too attached to a particular business approach.

Pro Tip: It never hurts to come up with a Plan B, C, or D in case of an unexpected event. You may also want to practice mindfulness to develop habits that promote adaptability and calm.

4. Improve your confidence.

If you exude confidence in yourself, your work, and your decision making, others will feel confident in you as well. Employees are more likely to trust in and follow confident leadership. And don’t feel discouraged if you’re not feeling confident all the time.

On days when you’re not feeling confident, repeat uplifting affirmations to yourself and make a private list of your best qualities as a leader.

Pro Tip: Taking a class in public speaking is a great way to build confidence especially as it pertains to speaking in front of large groups of people.

5. Build emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use, and regulate your emotions. This is a great leadership goal to have because you need to be able to remain calm if you want to adapt to a changing market or facilitate a healthy work environment.

To build your emotional intelligence, focus on these five components:

  • Internal motivation
  • Self regulation
  • Self awareness
  • Empathy
  • Social awareness

Pro Tip: Commit to keeping a journal and giving yourself about 30 minutes at the end of each workday to document how well you handle your emotions. What were some good moments, and what are some pain points you need to work on?

6. Be comfortable delegating tasks.

Asking for help can be hard, but it takes a team effort to run a business. If you overload yourself with too many responsibilities, you risk experiencing burnout. Instead, get in the habit of asking for help and relying on your team when necessary. Delegating tasks can reduce your stress and even provide new opportunities for team members to develop new skills.

Pro Tip: Start by delegating two simple tasks a week to an employee (or employees) who directly reports to you.

7. Practice transparency.

A great leader is open and honest with their staff and takes accountability for their own actions. This establishes trust between management and employees, which is incredibly important during times of uncertainty.

Pro Tip: Commit to sending out weekly updates or hosting regularly scheduled meetings to keep employees informed about company wins and losses.

8. Become a mentor.

If you want to boost morale at the workplace and foster your company’s growth, you should also act as a mentor to your staff. You can be a mentor by uplifting your employees and guiding them toward advancement. This can be done with scheduled training activities and meetings.

Pro Tip: Schedule weekly or bi-weekly training sessions where you can offer advice and help staff members build their skills.

9. Improve time management.

Just like your employees, you have to meet your deadlines. That means committing to ending meetings on time, sending out important information in a timely manner, and following up when you say you will.

Pro Tip: Keep a timer and dedicate a specific amount of time to completing certain tasks. For example, give yourself 30 minutes to draft reports. If the task takes longer, keep track of why. Is the task naturally more time-consuming? Do you need to limit distractions? Use your findings to better audit your time in the future.

10. Micromanage less.

Micromanaging can make employees feel anxious, lower morale, and cause burnout for your staff. This all can lead to higher turnover and a decrease in productivity. Your employees want to know that you trust them to succeed in the company’s mission — so try to take a hands-off approach whenever possible, and make it clear that you’re always available for guidance when they need it.

Pro Tip: Reduce check-ins on projects to once a week or bi-weekly, allowing your employees to work without too much pressure.

11. Build a dynamic team.

A well-rounded team with diverse perspectives is a strong asset to any company. To achieve this as a leadership goal, you may want to look into higher diverse or global candidates, pair teams together, and emphasize fresh perspectives.

Pro Tip: A way to achieve this could be to implement blind hiring practices in your HR department and work to eliminate any biases.

12. Lead by example.

Whether it’s meeting deadlines, clocking into work on time, or increasing productivity, expecting your employees to live up to standards you aren’t meeting yourself is unfair. You have to set a positive example for your staff. That means approaching new tasks with enthusiasm and doing your part to ensure the company meets its goals.

Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and step in to help with tedious projects when needed.

13. Offer more helpful constructive feedback.

As a leader, you should feel comfortable giving feedback to employees so that they know when they’re on the right track and where improvements can be made. Check-in with employees and give frequent positive feedback and constructive criticism to guide them along.

Pro Tip: Instead of waiting for something to go wrong to give feedback or waiting until an annual review, schedule weekly check-ins and make a point to acknowledge great work as soon as you see it.

14. Improve employee relations.

At a time when many employees are working from home and not together in a single office space, fostering strong professional relationships can be difficult. Making it a leadership goal to improve relationships among employees can ultimately build a stronger team that is dedicated to moving the company forward.

Pro Tip: Schedule bi-weekly or monthly coffee chats or virtual games to build community within the company and to allow your employees time to get to know each other in a relaxing environment.

15. Improve decision-making skills.

Make it a goal to find a decision-making process that helps you make sound decisions in a timely manner. This will help your team get started on projects sooner and allow the company to meet more deadlines. That decision-making process may include consulting your team for their input.

Pro Tip: This is yet another example of why it’s important to delegate certain tasks. Having someone you can appoint as a person you can defer to for input on decisions can help lessen the stress of decision-making.

16. Become aware of your team’s personal strengths.

Understanding your team’s individual strengths and weaknesses will make it easier to designate tasks most effectively. Make a point to evaluate each individual’s strength and assign tasks that will utilize those strengths. Your team will feel appreciated and production will go more smoothly.

Pro Tip: Once per quarter, send out surveys to employees asking them to highlight their strengths and areas they’d like to improve.

No matter how long you’ve been a leader, you should always have specific, actionable leadership goals to work toward. Becoming complacent inhibits growth — both yours and your company’s — so always reassess yourself and hold yourself accountable.

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?



Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

The world survived the first three months of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover.

But what are marketers doing now? Did your brand follow the shift Dennis Shiao made for his personal brand? As he recently shared, he switched his primary platform from Twitter to LinkedIn after the 2022 ownership change. (He still uses Twitter but posts less frequently.)

Are those brands that altered their strategy after the new ownership maintaining that plan? What impact do Twitter’s service changes (think Twitter Blue subscriptions) have?

We took those questions to the marketing community. No big surprise? Most still use Twitter. But from there, their responses vary from doing nothing to moving away from the platform.

Lowest points

At the beginning of the Elon era, more than 500 big-name advertisers stopped buying from the platform. Some (like Amazon and Apple) resumed their buys before the end of 2022. Brand accounts’ organic activity seems similar.

In November, Emplifi research found a 26% dip in organic posting behavior by U.S. and Canadian brands the week following a significant spike in the negative sentiment of an Elon tweet. But that drop in posting wasn’t a one-time thing.

Kyle Wong, chief strategy officer at Emplifi, shares a longer analysis of well-known fast-food brands. When comparing December 2021 to December 2022 activity, the brands posted 74% less, and December was the least active month of 2022.

Fast-food brands posted 74% less on @Twitter in December 2022 than they did in December 2021, according to @emplifi_io analysis via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

When Emplifi analyzed brand accounts across industries (2,330 from U.S. and Canada and 6,991 elsewhere in the world), their weekly Twitter activity also fell to low points in November and December. But by the end of the year, their activity was inching up.

“While the percentage of brands posting weekly is on the rise once again, the number is still lower than the consistent posting seen in earlier months,” Kyle says.

Quiet-quitting Twitter

Lacey Reichwald, marketing manager at Aha Media Group, says the company has been quiet-quitting Twitter for two months, simply monitoring and posting the occasional link. “It seems like the turmoil has settled down, but the overall impact of Twitter for brands has not recovered,” she says.

@ahamediagroup quietly quit @Twitter for two months and saw their follower count go up, says Lacey Reichwald via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

She points to their firm’s experience as a potential explanation. Though they haven’t been posting, their follower count has gone up, and many of those new follower accounts don’t seem relevant to their topic or botty. At the same time, Aha Media saw engagement and follows from active accounts in the customer segment drop.

Blue bonus

One change at Twitter has piqued some brands’ interest in the platform, says Dan Gray, CEO of Vendry, a platform for helping companies find agency partners to help them scale.

“Now that getting a blue checkmark is as easy as paying a monthly fee, brands are seeing this as an opportunity to build thought leadership quickly,” he says.

Though it remains to be seen if that strategy is viable in the long term, some companies, particularly those in the SaaS and tech space, are reallocating resources to energize their previously dormant accounts.

Automatic verification for @TwitterBlue subscribers led some brands to renew their interest in the platform, says Dan Gray of Vendry via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

These reenergized accounts also are seeing an increase in followers, though Dan says it’s difficult to tell if it’s an effect of the blue checkmark or their renewed emphasis on content. “Engagement is definitely up, and clients and agencies have both noted the algorithm seems to be favoring their content more,” he says.

New horizon

Faizan Fahim, marketing manager at Breeze, is focused on the future. They’re producing videos for small screens as part of their Twitter strategy. “We are guessing soon Elon Musk is going to turn Twitter into TikTok/YouTube to create more buzz,” he says. “We would get the first moving advantage in our niche.”

He’s not the only one who thinks video is Twitter’s next bet. Bradley Thompson, director of marketing at DigiHype Media and marketing professor at Conestoga College, thinks video content will be the next big thing. Until then, text remains king.

“The approach is the same, which is a focus on creating and sharing high-quality content relevant to the industry,” Bradley says. “Until Twitter comes out with drastically new features, then marketing and managing brands on Twitter will remain the same.

James Coulter, digital marketing director at Sole Strategies, says, “Twitter definitely still has a space in the game. The question is can they keep it, or will they be phased out in favor of a more reliable platform.”

Interestingly given the thoughts of Faizan and Bradley, James sees businesses turning to video as they limit their reliance on Twitter and diversify their social media platforms. They are now willing to invest in the resource-intensive format given the exploding popularity of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other short-form video content.

“We’ve seen a really big push on getting vendors to help curate video content with the help of staff. Requesting so much media requires building a new (social media) infrastructure, but once the expectations and deliverables are in place, it quickly becomes engrained in the weekly workflow,” James says.

What now

“We are waiting to see what happens before making any strong decisions,” says Baruch Labunski, CEO at Rank Secure. But they aren’t sitting idly by. “We’ve moved a lot of our social media efforts to other platforms while some of these things iron themselves out.”

What is your brand doing with Twitter? Are you stepping up, stepping out, or standing still? I’d love to know. Please share in the comments.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]



45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like trying to swim against the current.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job. (more…)

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How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open



How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

Are data clean rooms the solution to what IAB CEO David Cohen has called the “slow-motion train wreck” of addressability? Voices at the IAB will tell you that they have a big role to play.

“The issue with addressability is that once cookies go away, and with the loss of identifiers, about 80% of the addressable market will become unknown audiences which is why there is a need for privacy-centric consent and a better consent-value exchange,” said Jeffrey Bustos, VP, measurement, addressability and data at the IAB.

“Everyone’s talking about first-party data, and it is very valuable,” he explained, “but most publishers who don’t have sign-on, they have about 3 to 10% of their readership’s first-party data.” First-party data, from the perspective of advertisers who want to reach relevant and audiences, and publishers who want to offer valuable inventory, just isn’t enough.

Why we care. Two years ago, who was talking about data clean rooms? The surge of interest is recent and significant, according to the IAB. DCRs have the potential, at least, to keep brands in touch with their audiences on the open internet; to maintain viability for publishers’ inventories; and to provide sophisticated measurement capabilities.

How data clean rooms can help. DCRs are a type of privacy-enhancing technology that allows data owners (including brands and publishers) to share customer first-party data in a privacy-compliant way. Clean rooms are secure spaces where first-party data from a number of sources can be resolved to the same customer’s profile while that profile remains anonymized.

In other words, a DCR is a kind of Switzerland — a space where a truce is called on competition while first-party data is enriched without compromising privacy.

“The value of a data clean room is that a publisher is able to collaborate with a brand across both their data sources and the brand is able to understand audience behavior,” said Bestos. For example, a brand selling eye-glasses might know nothing about their customers except basic transactional data — and that they wear glasses. Matching profiles with a publisher’s behavioral data provides enrichment.

“If you’re able to understand behavioral context, you’re able to understand what your customers are reading, what they’re interested in, what their hobbies are,” said Bustos. Armed with those insights, a brand has a better idea of what kind of content they want to advertise against.

The publisher does need to have a certain level of first-party data for the matching to take place, even if it doesn’t have a universal requirement for sign-ins like The New York Times. A publisher may be able to match only a small percentage of the eye-glass vendor’s customers, but if they like reading the sports and arts sections, at least that gives some directional guidance as to what audience the vendor should target.

Dig deeper: Why we care about data clean rooms

What counts as good matching? In its “State of Data 2023” report, which focuses almost exclusively on data clean rooms, concern is expressed that DCR efficacy might be threatened by poor match rates. Average match rates hover around 50% (less for some types of DCR).

Bustos is keen to put this into context. “When you are matching data from a cookie perspective, match rates are usually about 70-ish percent,” he said, so 50% isn’t terrible, although there’s room for improvement.

One obstacle is a persistent lack of interoperability between identity solutions — although it does exist; LiveRamp’s RampID is interoperable, for example, with The Trade Desk’s UID2.

Nevertheless, said Bustos, “it’s incredibly difficult for publishers. They have a bunch of identity pixels firing for all these different things. You don’t know which identity provider to use. Definitely a long road ahead to make sure there’s interoperability.”

Maintaining an open internet. If DCRs can contribute to solving the addressability problem they will also contribute to the challenge of keeping the internet open. Walled gardens like Facebook do have rich troves of first-party and behavioral data; brands can access those audiences, but with very limited visibility into them.

“The reason CTV is a really valuable proposition for advertisers is that you are able to identify the user 1:1 which is really powerful,” Bustos said. “Your standard news or editorial publisher doesn’t have that. I mean, the New York Times has moved to that and it’s been incredibly successful for them.” In order to compete with the walled gardens and streaming services, publishers need to offer some degree of addressability — and without relying on cookies.

But DCRs are a heavy lift. Data maturity is an important qualification for getting the most out of a DCR. The IAB report shows that, of the brands evaluating or using DCRs, over 70% have other data-related technologies like CDPs and DMPs.

“If you want a data clean room,” Bustos explained, “there are a lot of other technological solutions you have to have in place before. You need to make sure you have strong data assets.” He also recommends starting out by asking what you want to achieve, not what technology would be nice to have. “The first question is, what do you want to accomplish? You may not need a DCR. ‘I want to do this,’ then see what tools would get you to that.”

Understand also that implementation is going to require talent. “It is a demanding project in terms of the set-up,” said Bustos, “and there’s been significant growth in consulting companies and agencies helping set up these data clean rooms. You do need a lot of people, so it’s more efficient to hire outside help for the set up, and then just have a maintenance crew in-house.”

Underuse of measurement capabilities. One key finding in the IAB’s research is that DCR users are exploiting the audience matching capabilities much more than realizing the potential for measurement and attribution. “You need very strong data scientists and engineers to build advanced models,” Bustos said.

“A lot of brands that look into this say, ‘I want to be able to do a predictive analysis of my high lifetime value customers that are going to buy in the next 90 days.’ Or ‘I want to be able to measure which channels are driving the most incremental lift.’ It’s very complex analyses they want to do; but they don’t really have a reason as to why. What is the point? Understand your outcome and develop a sequential data strategy.”

Trying to understand incremental lift from your marketing can take a long time, he warned. “But you can easily do a reach and frequency and overlap analysis.” That will identify wasted investment in channels and as a by-product suggest where incremental lift is occurring. “There’s a need for companies to know what they want, identify what the outcome is, and then there are steps that are going to get you there. That’s also going to help to prove out ROI.”

Dig deeper: Failure to get the most out of data clean rooms is costing marketers money

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