50 SMART Leadership Goals Examples (with Template)

smart goals template
Use This Template! (Available at the end of the article)

Leadership goals are objectives and targets that a leader sets to guide their actions, enhance their skills, and drive their team or organization towards desired outcomes.

Leadership is difficult and requires a range of skillsets and abilities that need to evolve and develop over time. Through goal setting, leaders can reflect on what they need to improve upon and how to get there. Furthermore, by setting goal setting milestones, you will be able to see and measure progress as you develop your leadership skills.

Your leadership goals might relate to improving your communication skills, mentorship ability, capacity to oversee large projects, or finding ways to inspire and get the best out of your team. I’ll outline many more potential leadership goals you could set for yourself throughout this article.

How to Set Leadership Goals


It’s difficult to set any type of goal without a framework. The framework I like to use is the SMART goal setting framework. This will give you the structure you need to get pen on paper and start writing down your goals and intentions.

This framework is an acronym – S.M.A.R.T, referring to the five elements you need in a well-crafted goal. The acronym stands for:

  • Specific: Your goal needs to clarify exactly what is expected, why it’s important, who’s involved, where it’s happening, and which specific constraints are in effect (Doran, 1981). By defining precise, clear, and detailed objectives, it leaves no room for misunderstanding.
  • Measurable: Establishing quantifiable criteria allows for tracking progress and determining when the goal has been achieved (Donovan, 2008). This often involves numerical benchmarks, such as percentages, timeframes, or specific amounts (Locke & Latham, 2012).
  • Achievable: Your goal needs to be achievable, meaning it is realistic and attainable. Here, you need to strike a balance between having a challenging goal, and having one that’s within reach (Latham & Locke, 2018). The goal should push you, but also be within your capabilities.
  • Relevant: The goal should align with broader business objectives, ensuring the invested effort leads to the desired impact (Lunenburg, 2011). This step emphasizes the importance of choosing goals that matter and makes sure they are in line with other related goals and plans.
  • Time-bound: Adding a timeframe creates a sense of urgency and prompts action (Doran, 1981). A clear endpoint (or set of time-bound milestones) can help you to track progress and adjust as needed.

SMART Leadership Goals Examples

Goal: “To enhance my leadership communication skills by mastering active listening and conveying clear, concise messages in the next six months.

  • S: The target is to boost active listening and concise communication.
  • M: Measurement will be through performance reviews and communication feedback.
  • A: Attainability will come through courses, professional readings, and practice.
  • R: This goal aligns with the broader aim of enhanced team efficiency.
  • T: I’m targeting achievement within six months.

See More Communication Goals Here

Goal: “To increase the team’s overall productivity by 15% over the next fiscal year.”

  • S: The objective is to enhance our team’s output by 15%.
  • M: Measurement will transpire through an assessment of completed project counts and sale volumes.
  • A: Attaining it involves providing trainings, utilizing efficiency tools, and fostering innovative thinking.
  • R: Relevant because it drives the broader goal of enhancing organizational effectiveness.
  • T: The timeframe: the end of the next fiscal year.

Goal: “Improve conflict resolution skills by undertaking specialized training programs and successfully resolving at least five team conflicts in the next nine months.”

  • S: The aim is to build conflict management skills.
  • M: Measurement will take place through monitoring resolved team conflict instances.
  • A: Achievability is ensured by enrolling in professional mediation and conflict resolution courses.
  • R: This applies to the broader objective of improving team harmony and performance.
  • T: The goal is to be met within nine months.

Goal: “To facilitate better team rapport by organizing monthly team-building activities over the next year.”

  • S: The goal is to foster a stronger bond within the team.
  • M: Measurement will occur through team feedback and observing improved collaborations.
  • A: It is feasible through scheduling regular team-bonding activities.
  • R: Relevant as it promotes better workforce synergy, a component of the larger goal of enhancing performance.
  • T: The timeframe for this is one year.

Goal: “Cultivate empathetic leadership by regularly conducting one-on-one sessions with team members and administering an empathy rating survey every quarter over the next two years.”

  • S: The objective requires adopting a leadership approach that exudes more empathy.
  • M: Measurement will be carried out using an empathy rating survey.
  • A: By having more one-on-one sessions and self-learning about empathy, the goal is achievable.
  • R: This aligns with the larger goal of human-centric leadership and better employee satisfaction.
  • T: The goal is to accomplish this in a span of two years.

Goal: “To develop a formal mentorship program for new hires within the next six months.”

  • S: The goal centers on building a mentorship program.
  • M: Measurement will involve tracking the number of employees utilizing the program and feedback from participants.
  • A: By creating a structure for mentors and mentees and providing necessary resources, it is achievable.
  • R: This goes hand in hand with the broader goal of accelerating new hire onboarding and integration.
  • T: The aim is to implement this within the next six months.

Read Also: Examples of Mentorship Goals

Goal: “To personally mentor at least three junior team members and help them reach their professional development goals within a year.

  • S: The goal focuses on mentoring three junior team members.
  • M: Checking the progress and achievements of the mentees will determine the measurement.
  • A: Setting aside dedicated time for mentoring and sharing knowledge ensures achievability.
  • R: This is relevant as it encourages talent development, a part of the wider goal of staff retention and growth.
  • T: The time frame is one year.

Goal: “To facilitate a culture of reverse-mentoring (junior employees mentoring senior employees) within the team over the next eighteen months.”

  • S: The goal involves promoting reverse mentoring.
  • M: Measuring will be implemented via feedback from both senior and junior employees involved.
  • A: By endorsing and implementing a structured reverse mentoring process, this is achievable.
  • R: This correlates with the larger aim of fostering a learning environment and improving cross-generational cooperation.
  • T: The timeframe to achieve this goal is eighteen months.

Goal: “To attain professional Lean Six Sigma Certification within the next twelve months.”

  • S: The goal is to receive Lean Six Sigma Certification.
  • M: Measurement is clear in this case – either the certification is earned, or it is not.
  • A: Through dedicated study time, online coursework, and necessary exams, it is achievable.
  • R: This aligns with the broader objective of personal skill enhancement and improved process efficiency.
  • T: I plan to achieve this within the next year.

Goal: “To attend at least three industry-relevant seminars or webinars every quarter for the coming year.”

  • S: The objective is to continuously learn by attending industry seminars or webinars.
  • M: Measurement will simply be the count of relevant seminars or webinars attended.
  • A: With a considerable number of online resources and events, this goal is achievable.
  • R: Constant learning is essential for personal growth and keeping up with industry trends.
  • T: The timeframe for this goal is the next four quarters.

Goal: “To read five books directly related to improving leadership skills over the course of the next year.”

  • S: The goal involves self-improvement through targeted reading.
  • M: Whether or not I’ve read the five books will determine the measurement.
  • A: This is achievable through disciplined time management and dedication.
  • R: Enhancing leadership skills benefits personal development and team management, which aligns with broader professional growth objectives.
  • T: This is to be achieved by the end of the year.

Goal: “To provide constructive feedback during one-on-one sessions with each of my team members at least once every quarter for the next year.

  • S: The goal is to offer regular constructive feedback.
  • M: The count of one-on-one sessions wherein feedback is provided will be the measurement.
  • A: This is achievable by scheduling and preparing for the sessions in advance.
  • R: Offering feedback aligns with the bigger goal of team development and performance improvement.
  • T: The timeframe is quarterly throughout the coming year.

Goal: “To develop a structured feedback system that encourages regular feedback flow from leaders to employees and vice versa within the next six months.”

  • S: The aim to design a systematic feedback exchange.
  • M: Measurement will be the successful implementation and utilization of the system.
  • A: By designing, executing, and promoting the system among team members, it is achievable.
  • R: This is relevant to the wider objective of fostering a culture of open communication.
  • T: I plan to execute this within six months.

Goal: “To actively solicit feedback regarding my own leadership style from all team members bi-annually over the next two years.”

  • S: The goal involves seeking bi-annual feedback on my leadership.
  • M: Whether or not I’ve sought feedback from all team members will measure this.
  • A: By setting up structured feedback forms or sessions, attaining this goal is possible.
  • R: Receiving feedback is crucial in self-development, ultimately leading to better team leadership.
  • T: The plan is to achieve this twice a year for the next two years.

Additional Goals Ideas

The following goals are written as single-sentence goals with the intention to be expanded into SMART goals, if you so choose.

Select from the following (even copy and paste!) then build them out using the SMART framework to match your needs:

  • “Complete a comprehensive project management certification within the next seven months to enhance my ability to lead complex projects.”
  • “Reduce the instance of overtime work in my department by 20% over the next year to ensure work-life balance.”
  • “Implement an open-door policy in the coming two months to promote transparency and approachability.”
  • “Increase the department’s customer satisfaction scores by 15% over the next fiscal year by enhancing client communication skills.”
  • “Attend at least two sessions of leadership coaching every month for a year to polish my managerial skills.”
  • “Delegate 25% more tasks over the next quarter to empower team members and free up leadership focus on strategic aspects.”
  • “Implement a monthly recognition program in the team within the next three months to boost morale and motivation.”
  • “Reduce email correspondence by 30% within two quarters in favor of face-to-face communication to improve clarity and rapport.”
  • “Improve the onboarding process for new hires by implementing an onboarding satisfaction survey to be conducted after their first 90 days in the next four months.”
  • “Successfully mentor one employee to a promotion within the next year to foster talent and development.”
  • “Facilitate a team campaign that raises our brand’s social media engagement by 10% over the next six months.”
  • “Rotate team roles once a quarter for the next year to foster cross-functionality and reduce skill gaps.”
  • “Adopt a new technology or tool that enhances productivity within the next six months.”
  • “Starting next month, take part in a local networking event at least once per quarter for the entire year to expand industry connections.”
  • “Develop a comprehensive disaster recovery plan for the department within the next eight months.”
  • “Achieve an employee satisfaction score of at least 90% in the next year’s end-of-year survey by enhancing team engagement strategies.”
  • “Over the next six months, successfully implement a flexible working hours plan to increase employee satisfaction.”
  • “Ensure a 100% team attendance in health and safety training within the next four months.”
  • “Increase the team’s grant proposal success rate by 15% in the next fiscal year through providing grant writing training and resources.”
  • “By the end of two quarters, ensure that every team member has attended at least one career-enhancement workshop or seminar to foster professional development.”
  • “Introduce at least one innovative process change in the coming year to increase operational efficiency.”
  • “Arrange and conduct weekly team meetings over the next 12 months to foster open communication and collaboration.”
  • “Encourage and measure a 30% increase in the attendance of industry-relevant webinars by team members over the next six months to improve team knowledge base.”
  • “Facilitate the development and implementation of one major project led by a junior team member within the next six months to foster leadership.”
  • “Increase employee participation in decision-making by 50% within the next year to enhance employee engagement and ownership.”
  • “Strategize and implement changes to cut cost expenditures by 10% within the next fiscal year.”
  • “Introduce an effective system that reduces paperwork or documentation time by 30% within the next two quarters.”
  • “Improve punctuality in the team by reducing late starts or overruns in meetings by 20% in the next six months.”
  • “Invest in my physical wellness by regularly working out and reducing stress levels, with a goal to reduce sick days by 70% over the next year.”
  • “Start a ‘Best Ideas of the Month’ recognition program in the coming quarter to foster creativity and innovation among team members.”
  • “Increase team member participation in company-wide events by 50% in the next year to strengthen intra-organizational bonds.”
  • “Ensure that all team members develop at least one new hard skill relevant to their roles within the next year.”
  • “Aim to meet one-on-one with all team members at least once every quarter over the next year to discuss career aspirations and progress.”
  • “Run a successful department-wide CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative over the next six months to instill a sense of social responsibility.”
  • “Institute quarterly ‘self-learning days’ within the coming year, where team members dedicate their workday to learn something new related to their job.”

Types of Leadership Goals you can Set

It’s hard to come up with a goal to focus on – which is why I’ve written this article. Below are some categories of goals you can focus on:

1. Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking refers to the goals that are forward-thinking and often take the form of long-term goals for your organization or team.

For example, as you step into a leadership role, you’ll find yourself focusing more on predicting oncoming threats, environmental factors, or economic conditions on the horizon. It might be your job to foresee and address these.

To address this, your goals could include:

  • Identifying strategic threats within a certain timeframe
  • Pivoting to protect from or address oncoming strategic threats
  • Identifying strategic opportunities within a certain timeframe
  • Positioning the team to benefit from upcoming opportunities

(To address strategic issues and integrate them into your goals, consider creating a SWOT chart, which will help clarify opportunities and threats, as well as strengths and weaknesses of the organization, team, or yourself).

2. Improving Soft Skills

Soft skills are increasingly important when you move into roles where you’re leading others. These are the interpersonal skills or ‘people skills‘ that you will need to be a good leader.

Some soft skills you could frame your goals around could include:

3. Technical Proficiency and Hard Skills

Technical and hard skills refer to the specific industry-specific skills you need to complete tasks.

For example, if you’re a leader within the finances sector, you’ll likely need strong abilities to interpret datapoints, create data, and synthesize a lot of financial information.

Some examples might include (depending on your sector):

  • Data analysis
  • Digital literacy
  • Computer programming
  • Negotiation abilities
  • Analytical reasoning
  • Copywriting for speeches

SMART Goals Template

smart goals template

Get the Google Docs Template Here


Leadership goals should focus both on short-term and long-term changes and improvements that will incrementally make you a better leader and, simultaneously, support your team and organization. Browse through the examples above and select ones that resonate with you, copy and paste them, and adjust them for your own situation and context. Set milestones to help you bridge the gap between long-term goals and short-term actionable milestones.


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Doran, G. T. (1981). There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives. Journal of Management Studies, 70-75.

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Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2013). New developments in goal setting and task performance. London: Routledge.

Lunenburg, F. C. (2011). Goal-setting theory of motivation. International journal of management, business, and administration, 15(1), 1-6.

Mento, A. J., Steel, R. P., & Karren, R. J. (2017). A meta-analytic study of the effects of goal setting on task performance: 1966–1984. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 39(1), 52-83. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/0749-5978(87)90045-8

Nordengren, C. (2021). Step Into Student Goal Setting: A Path to Growth, Motivation, and Agency. New York: Corwin Press.

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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