Module 3 – SLP
Setting Personal Leadership Goals
In Module 1, you began the process of developing a Leadership Growth
Plan (LGP) with a thorough self-assessment. In Module 2, you established
your vision, identified obstacles to achieving that vision, and made plans to
overcome the obstacles. In this module, you will continue to develop your
LGP by setting goals and conducting an assessment of resources you will
need to accomplish your goals. The outcome of this exercise is a 2- to 3-
page plan that specifies 3 to 4 goals you would like to accomplish in the
next year and sets clear objectives for what you will need to do to achieve
Keys to the Assignment
Perhaps the hardest part of setting goals is getting started. Begin by
considering the following:
1. Ask yourself: “What do I need to be doing in order to achieve my
vision?” Think in terms of what you can accomplish by next year. These
are the milestones that describe your goals. They define what you
intend to do.
2. Next, look at each goal separately and ask yourself:
◦ “What do I need to do to reach this goal?”
◦ “What skills do I need to acquire?”
◦ “What new knowledge do I need?”
The answers to these three questions constitute your objectives.
Objectives are shorter term than goals and specify what you need, when
you need it, and how you are going to get it. While goal statements are
helpful in that they set a direction, objectives provide the “roadmap” that
will get you to your vision. Objectives tell you exactly what you need to do,
how you need to do it, and provide a timeline.
Strong objectives meet the following criteria:
• They are specific. When you write your objectives, use action words
that have a tangible outcome such as identify, demonstrate, perform, or
calculate. You will be able to assess when you have met these types of
objectives. Avoid words like understand, appreciate, know, or learn.
These terms are too vague. How will you be able to assess whether or
not you “understand”?
• They are challenging. Difficult, but attainable objectives will help you
cultivate a greater leadership capacity. If an objective is too easy, you
will not grow. If it is too difficult, you may end up frustrated and the goal
will be unfulfilled.
Your goals and objectives form the outline of your development plan. To
flesh it out, determine what actions are required to meet your objectives.
These actions usually make up the greater part of the leadership
development plan itself.
Putting it all together and writing up the plan
• Fortunately, there are a lot of templates on the internet to help you
create an action plan. Begin by doing some research and select a
template that will allow you to present your goals, objectives, and
timeline. You will also need to identify the resources you will need.
Most of these templates are some type of table, and it is easy to follow
what will need to be done, by when.
• The critical component of this assignment is to be specific about what
actions you will take to gather the resources you will need to meet your
goals. The following list gives a number of specific actions you can
include in your plan, but you should not stop with these. Use your own
initiative and creativity to come up with additional formal, informal,
directed, and self-directed actions you can take to meet your Leadership
Growth Plan.
◦ Reading – This is the basic and most
fundamental way to stay current in your area of
expertise, gain new knowledge, and be inspired.
Your plan should include regular reading of
professional journals, trade publications, books,
and reputable online resources.
◦ Training programs and courses – Formal
courses and training seminars can be effective
and efficient ways of learning new skills and
expanding your leadership capacities. Many
companies offer such training opportunities, but
also check independent or consulting firms in
specific areas such as motivation, performance
appraisal, cross-cultural communication, or
mentoring. Check out the internet, but also local
colleges and Universities. Certificates can offer
cost and time-effective ways to home in on
developing specific skills such as human
resources or project management.
◦ On the job – even if your current position does
not involve leadership responsibilities, you can
look for ways to learn leadership through
practical experience by mentoring a younger or
newer employee, chair a task force, prepare a
presentation, or simply work to develop your
active listening skills on a daily basis.
◦ Volunteering – Join a civic group, charity, board
of a non-profit, political campaign, fundraising
effort, or other community service. Be the first to
offer to take on a new project or supervise other
volunteers. Represent the group on radio, TV, or
press as the spokesperson.
◦ Find a mentor – identify someone who has what
you want and ask if they will show you the ropes.
Let her know that you want to develop specific
skills, such as public speaking or organizing
events and would be interested in being a helping
hand to learn these skills. Ask for feedback from
supervisors and let them know you would
welcome leadership opportunities.
◦ Journaling – often overlooked, a habit of writing
about problems, learnings, obstacles
encountered and overcome, and even hopes and
dreams of the future can help set direction and
increase motivation. A journal can document
what you are learning and how it can apply to
your leadership development.
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SLP Assignment Expectations
• Include a cover page and reference page in addition to the 2-3 pages of
analysis described above.
• Your paper should have an introduction and a conclusion, but the main
part of the assignment may be a well-constructed, professionally
designed table.
• Use headings to indicate major sections of the report.
• Cite and reference any outside sources.
• Use APA formatting.
• Proofread and edit your papers carefully. The expectation is zero errors.