How do executives set goals

Leadership Managers should have these qualities and skills

Managers have to like people, because leadership is based on appreciation. Good managers should, however, have other qualities and show them in their actions and in their dealings with employees.

If leadership means getting people to achieve their respective goals, then successful leadership shows itself in the fact that the goals are also achieved. Now the goals are different depending on the company, as are the people who are supposed to achieve these goals.

Managers therefore have to act differently in different situations. There can be no golden rules for successful leadership. However, there are qualities and skills that all leaders should have.

The most important qualities of executives

Managers should be:

  • appreciative
  • careful
  • trustful
  • authentic
  • thinking systemically
  • consequent
  • focused
  • constructive


Only those who like people should lead people. Those who are not genuinely interested in them will hardly see employees as individuals with diverse skills and needs. Without acceptance and respect, a manager and their team will hardly achieve goals in the long run. Successful executives do not adorn themselves with strange feathers, but also step into the background and let their employees shine. Humility and humility are leadership virtues.


Quality has a high priority in all companies. This value can also be related to the cooperation between managers and their employees. Here the care corresponds to the quality. It is important for managers to exercise particular care in their actions, in communication and thus in their thinking, and to be mindful of people and resources.


Predictability, reliability and credibility are the prerequisites for trust. Successful managers place their trust in their employees by delegating important tasks, ensuring transparency and an open information policy and involving employees in decision-making processes.


Only those who are genuine and authentic are given credibility, which in turn is the basis for trust. Why should you follow someone you don't know where you are? Managers should not put on a mask as soon as they enter the company, but rather remain tangible as people - with rough edges that are part of it. They should admit mistakes and get feedback on their behavior from their own employees again and again.

Thinking systemically

Managers are not experts in all detailed questions, but they must always have an overview of the tasks and projects in their team. To do this, you should understand all the essential relationships, such as processes and interest groups, and try to control their influence on your team. Managers who take a holistic perspective analyze causes, have goals and regulations in mind and take into account direct and indirect relationships and cross-relationships in the team and with stakeholders.


Managers must ensure clear decisions in their team and ensure that they are implemented. In doing so, they should provide orientation through goals and create the opportunity to control one's own actions on the basis of results. You should show that, as a leader, you are ready to remove obstacles. And you should create the framework so that your team can achieve its goals.


In an increasingly complex world, it is difficult to pursue all goals and desires equally. Managers should therefore set clear priorities for themselves and together with their team for their goals and success-critical tasks, which they then pursue consistently. It's about focusing on the strengths of the employees and trying to use them accordingly. Managers should support their employees in continuously developing these strengths.


Executives demonstrate leadership skills, especially when they fail and make mistakes. It's not about complaining, but looking to the future: How do we do it better? Looking for solutions instead of guilty parties, seeing opportunities instead of just dangers on the way to the goal

The most important skills of managers

The qualities of leaders show how they should be. The skills and competencies indicate what they should be doing. These include:

  • Clearly formulate and communicate goals
  • Develop strategies for achieving goals
  • Make decisions and set priorities
  • work and lead virtually
  • Recognize people's skills and motives
  • Develop networks
  • Initiate and accompany changes
  • Recognize and resolve conflicts

Clearly formulate and communicate goals

Most managers are familiar with the SMART formula for goals (specific, measurable, attractive, relevant, timed). But do you use them in practice? This may still be the case with sales or productivity goals. But what about behavioral goals, for example when dealing with customers? All too often these goals remain vague and you can hardly find more than statements such as: "We want to act in a customer-oriented manner".

Specific is different! Managers should formulate goals in such a way that everyone in the team knows exactly what is meant by them and how the achievement of goals can be recognized. Managers should communicate these clear goals over and over again.

Develop strategies for achieving goals

Goals provide orientation. But how do you achieve the goals? Managers should work with their team to develop measures and strategies to achieve goals together. In doing so, they should rely on the specialist knowledge of the employees.

Make decisions and set priorities

Obstacles keep appearing on the way to the goal. This could be new laws or changes in markets that are becoming more and more volatile. In such situations, managers have to look for new ways, make consistent decisions and set clear priorities for themselves and for the team when working on goals and tasks.

Work and lead virtually

Not only teams of software developers are working on the same project around the world today. Managers must also be able to work and lead virtually. The ability to lead teams over longer periods of time via video conferences and to skillfully use virtual communication forums has meanwhile become a key qualification for managers.

Recognize people's motives and abilities

Only those who really know the motives and skills of their team members can use them in a goal-oriented manner. In sales, for example, not all field service employees are equally enthusiastic winners of new customers. Some are very good carers for existing customers. Finding the right tasks and roles for every employee in the team is what distinguishes successful managers.

Develop networks

In an increasingly volatile, insecure, complex and ambivalent world (VUCA) in particular, it is important not only to know your own team behind you, but also to build networks. The team and the manager can find support in the network if necessary. Networks are built up when participating in projects or by exchanging important information.

Initiate and accompany changes

Successful managers repeatedly question established processes and behaviors, look for new options for action and support their employees in mastering the change process as participants and not just as those affected.

Recognize and resolve conflicts

A world characterized by diversity implies dealing with different interests and worlds of experience that harbor potential for conflict. Recognizing these conflicts early and responding appropriately is another key skill of managers.

See the management manual for this

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