Executive Leadership Goals: Meaning, Examples, And Development

If there’s anything you take away from this article, make sure it’s these crucial facts about executive leadership goals:

  • SMART leadership goals are essential for running a successful business.
  • They should be the foundation of every type of organisation (including small firms, corporations, non-profits, and government agencies) and leadership style.
  • They are (and should be) perfectly attainable
  • Make time to think them through.
  • Revisit and update your goals regularly.

Now that we’ve cleared a lot of confusion by highlighting some of the central points let’s look at the bigger picture. 

The Importance of Good Leadership Goals

You’ve most certainly heard that leaders lead by example rather than words. That’s why it’s so important for executives to have a healthy goal development process in place. Aside from directly impacting your team’s operations, good leadership goals are the most effective way to show (not tell) how all employees should set and achieve their objectives. 

But what are good executive objectives exactly?

As the phrase implies, they are the way leaders can set a clear action plan, both for their own development and the work environment they’re handling. In many ways, good objective-setting practices make a powerful tool kit that enables leadership in the first place. 

In terms of attainment and predefined time frames, such objectives can be short-term and long-term. And although c-suite roles are usually identified with the long-term vision and strategy, it’s equally important for a leader to set goals that are concerned with daily workflow inside the organisation. 

Executive Goals Examples

Now let’s look at some prominent examples of executive goals so we can understand precisely how they fuel decisive leadership. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of c-level objectives. Instead, we want to explain the theory behind a few of them so that you can better understand what it means to translate them into SMART leadership goals later on. 

Coach, Advise, And Guide

There’s no better way of leading a team or an entire organisation than by being an effective mentor. In many ways, this guidance is a way of building authority through knowledge. Your team expects you to guide them through implementing a predefined strategy, provide actionable feedback, and advise if problems occur. 

Delegation And Accountability

At all means, the last goal doesn’t entail “micromanaging” of any sort. C-suite leaders must be able to delegate workflow to teams without the need to monitor their performance at all times. Instead, leaders are there to make others leaders themselves and create a culture where they hold one another accountable for their plans while focussing on a joint vision. Needless to say, this means, first and foremost, that executives should accept responsibility for their own decisions. 

Build a Strong Team

This particular goal is, as you may presume, one of the most complex ones on our list. At the same time, it’s also essential for organisational functioning. To develop a strong team, a leader must have several micro-goals in place. Perhaps most importantly, they need to:

  • Listen Actively

Not only can active listening sparkle fresh ideas in you, but you’ll also show that everyone in the team participates in achieving collective results. 

  • Build Relationships

Or rather, build meaningful relationships. The more you strengthen interpersonal connections with your team, the more you can expect to rely on them in times of hardship. 

  • Set Standards

There is no efficient goal attainment without established and well-defined standards and processes. As a leader, you are the one that has to write them in stone. Define ethical standards, delegation process, decision-making procedures, etc., to ensure everyone knows their place in the workflow. 

  • Talent Management

Strong talent management skills are a huge advantage for leaders of all types. They translate themselves into the ability to inspire others, recognise their strengths, and keynote where there’s room for improvement. If done right, it’s the surest path to having people that succeed on your team. 

SMART Leadership Goals Examples

If a leader sets these goals (or others that are equally beneficial), they’re on the right track. But if they translate them into SMART executive objectives, they’re paving every inch of that road with the certainty of success. 


Because SMART leadership goals are the most effective way of making an effective actionable plan according to predefined objectives. They make sure your goals don’t remain in thin air but become a series of purposeful actions. 

Setting up SMART goals means defining specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based (SMART) objectives that are more easily achieved. 

So, for example, if a leader has a goal to act more as a mentor, the SMART variant of his resolution would be “organise monthly training sessions for managers.” Or, if they want to build stronger relationships within the team, executives can define the intention as “schedule a quarterly event with a sole purpose of nurturing togetherness in the team.”

Some other examples of SMART executive goals can sound as follows:

  • “Delegate at least one low-level task to one of your direct reports weekly” (general objective: delegate more)
  • “Schedule a call biweekly specifically to practice active listening” (general objective: listen actively)
  • “If a project is not running late, check in with the employees once per week only” (general objective: micromanage less)

Of course, each general objective can have multiple “SMART spellings” as long as they satisfy the categorical imperative to the highest possible extent. 

Organisational Leadership Education

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Organisational Leadership with the University of Zambia will equip you with the sought-after leadership skills in today’s market. 

This distance learning programme will help you:

  • Become an effective decision maker
  • Develop a strategic mindset
  • Learn leadership styles and methods
  • Attain leadership-specific competences 

To learn more, download our prospectus or contact us with any questions you may have.