10 Professional Development Goals For Managers to Set Now

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Management Professional Development Planning With A Purpose

On tap for today are ten great examples of professional development goals for managers. Having spent nearly 30 years in various management roles, I have many thoughts on this vital topic.

So, after we review each of today’s objectives for managers, I will touch on several other essential areas to include in your management professional development plan.

Let’s get moving.

10 Examples Of Professional Development Goals For Managers

Every good manager has a plan for professional development, so here are ten ideas to include in your self-improvement goals.

  1. Improve time management
  2. Consume news and knowledge
  3. Seek feedback
  4. Learn to delegate
  5. Avoid micromanaging
  6. Improve soft skills
  7. Embrace new skills in finance
  8. Cross-train in another area
  9. Increase problem-solving abilities
  10. Take a development course

Next, my thoughts on the ten career and work development objectives and aspirations for managers above.

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Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

1. Improve Time Management

Time is a critical resource for managers striving to get ahead in business.


Because time is the great equalizer, and no one has more than 24 hours each day. So, making the best use of your time is a must.

Here are several tips to improve your time management skills:

  • Start the day with a plan
  • Prioritize the plan
  • Keep an organized workspace
  • Focus on one thing at a time
  • Set deadlines
  • Minimize distractions
  • Finish what you start
  • Batch similar activities

2. Consume News And Knowledge

Stay current in your industry and your area of functional expertise. Here are a couple of ways to go about doing this.

First, read daily for news and information. Good written sources of knowledge include:

  • Business management blogs
  • Industry and trade publications
  • Management books
  • New York Times
  • Wall Street Journal

Second, network within your industry and your field of expertise.

Remember the old saying, “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know.”

Although I still believe what you know is essential. However, networking is an excellent way to improve your knowledge base.

Effective networking means:

  • Make a plan
  • Meet someone new every week
  • Never dismiss anyone as unimportant
  • Stay in touch and follow through
  • Be helpful to others

3. Seek Feedback

Constructive feedback is one of the best ways to develop professionally as a manager. What better way to improve than by seeking input from others?

Most importantly, do not discount anyone or anything they say. Sometimes there is wisdom from the least expected places. And do not sit back and wait for feedback during your annual performance review.

Thus, continually seek feedback on your performance from:

  • Bosses
  • Colleagues
  • Customers and clients
  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Peers
  • People in your network
  • Subordinates
  • Suppliers

Valuable techniques for pursuing, receiving, and taking action on the feedback you receive include the following:

  • Eliminate your biases
  • Pose specific questions
  • Press for examples
  • Practice active listening skills
  • Reflect
  • Use what you learn

4. Learn To Delegate

Effective management means getting things done through others. And to get things done through others, one of many professional development goals is the fine art of delegation.

First, look at your team. Then, make sure to put each person in the proper organizational structure.

Second, determine the responsibilities of each team member within that structure.

These first two steps are critical because most people are at their best when they have a keen sense of their role and where it fits within the team.

Get these two things right first; then, you will better understand what to delegate and when.

Another tip that worked for me was keeping a short to-do list for each team member. This way, I could see what I had delegated at a glance. Then also be reminded about what and when to follow up.

Other tips for effective delegation include:

  • Play to employee’s strengths
  • Define the desired outcome
  • Set milestones and deadlines
  • Provide the necessary resources
  • Eliminate roadblocks
  • Create a feedback loop

5. Avoid Micromanaging

Next, when delegating tasks and assignments, resist the urge to micromanage. This skill is an especially critical professional development goal for new managers.

Why? Because today’s new manager was yesterday’s high-performing individual contributor.

However, by practicing effective delegation techniques, even new managers can succeed.

So, go back to the list I just provided for effective delegation and reduce your urge to micromanage with clearly defined outcomes, deadlines, and a predetermined means to check on progress.

6. Improve Soft Skills

You probably got promoted into a management position because of your technical skills. And your ability to use those skills to get things done.

However, after becoming a manager, other management skills play a more significant role in achieving success.

So, focus your goal-setting and management development plan on these soft skills:

  • Adaptability
  • Change management
  • Communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Consensus-building
  • Creativity
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Negotiations
  • Positive thinking

7. Embrace New Skills In Finance

I spent a large portion of my career in corporate finance roles. Thus, accounting, finance, and money management are my second nature.

On the other hand, many professional managers need help with business finance concepts.

Finance is the language of business, so make it a priority to learn everything you can about this vital area.

First, establish and maintain a working relationship with your finance department. Second, network with finance and accounting professionals outside of our organization.

Focus on these areas to set your finance skills apart from others:

Over time, you will find that many of the best managers you encounter have a firm grasp of finance.

8. Cross-Train In Another Area

Another trait of the best managers is their overall knowledge of the business in which they work. So, set a professional development goal to better understand your specific business and how the business world works overall.

To do so, I suggest cross-training in other functional areas. For example,

Doing these things will make you more valuable, build excellent relationships across your organization, and set yourself up for more responsibility. Plus, earn the rewards that go with that responsibility in the future.

9. Increase Problem-Solving Abilities

One of the most important roles of management is problem-solving. So set a goal to increase your problem-solving abilities.

To solve problems, I typically follow these steps:

  • Clearly define the problem
  • Find the root cause(s)
  • Brainstorm alternative remedies
  • Choose the best remedy
  • Take action
  • Monitor results

10. Take A Development Course

There are many aspects to professional development for managers. While some people are born to manage, most of us need to learn skills from other, more accomplished people.

To further your skills, take a management development course.

For example, here are several professional development courses for managers from which you can choose:

Business leadership

Team building


Okay. That concludes my review of ten examples of professional development goals for managers.

Next, I will touch on several other areas falling into the broader topic of management professional development. Essential stuff for every aspiring manager with high aspirations.

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Other Types Of Developmental Goals For Managers

There is more to a comprehensive professional development plan for managers than these ten goals.

Thus, here are some other areas to consider for your self-improvement as a manager, including related articles for going more in-depth if you desire.

Personal Objectives For Managers

Personal development goals for managers dramatically expand your horizons as an individual.

First, these qualities relate to your beliefs, habits, behaviors, life experiences, and growth mindset.

Furthermore, these skills are about who you are, your management style, and the personal boundaries you set for yourself between work, play, and family.

More reading: 10 personal development activities for managers

Leadership Development Goals For Managers

Becoming a better leader involves setting development goals to improve your skills for leading the people you supervise.

Most importantly, managing is only possible if you can lead.

Not only will your leadership and people skills serve you in your current role. But they are transferable and will travel with you no matter where you work, what you do, or the size of the team you manage.

More reading: 10 tips to improve your leadership skills

Performance Objectives For Managers

Managerial performance is the heart and soul of what you do as a supervisor. Performance management means meeting the objectives and targets for work effectiveness and team productivity.

Thus, performance is about organizing and getting the most out of the individuals and the team you manage and doing so to benefit the business and the company culture you all serve.

More reading: 10 ways to improve management performance

Career Objectives For Managers

Career goals are milestones that you want to achieve as you move forward in your chosen field. These activities form the foundation of a career development plan.

They are essential since your focus here turns more directly to yourself. Thus, I encourage you to think beyond your current position. And perhaps beyond your current employer.

Focus on putting yourself in the best possible position to benefit your long-term career aspirations.

More reading: 35 career objectives for long-term success

Okay. Now you have other areas to consider as you grow as a manager. Plus, the ten professional development goals we covered earlier.

So, please allow me to wrap up with a few parting comments. To do so, I will connect the dots and draw a circle around the entire topic of management development.

Professional Development Goals For Managers: Wrap Up

Effective professional development for managers has its roots in five areas.

First, managers are people whose belief systems and traits form the foundation of their management style.

Second, managers need a growth mindset that always focuses on professional development (today’s topic).

Third, managers are leaders capable of organizing and motivating others toward a common goal.

Fourth, managers focus on performance to get the right things done for the organization they serve

Fifth, managers have careers extending beyond the boundaries of their current job and employer.

Thus, look to these five areas as you seek to become a better manager now and in the future.

Okay. That’s it for today.

But are you hungry for more personal and professional development articles? If yes, check our archives about

Setting Goals for Success

Thanks for reading, and good luck with whatever you do!

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Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

Professional Development Goals For Managers Explained