• Share this:
Development goals for work (with examples)
Illustration by Kevin Yu

7 min read

Development goals for work (with examples)

Boost work motivation and achieve success with development goals. Learn how to set achievable objectives and level up in your career.

Think of your corporate journey and the milestones you want to achieve as a ladder you climb one rung at a time.  Development goals help individuals and organizations reach success by providing focus, direction, and motivation

Specifically, these are personal targets set for oneself or one’s team, enabling growth in skills attainment, knowledge acquisition, behavioral change, and more. 

These goals can be long-term or short-term; the rungs of the ladder, if you will. 

In this article, we'll look at different types of development goals for work—with examples—so you can find out how to set achievable objectives and level up in your organization. 

We'll also explore strategies for effective goal-setting so you'll have the tools necessary to create a comprehensive plan leading to success for yourself or your company. 

So grab your metaphorical ladder, and let's start climbing!

Types of development goals

By breaking down different categories of objectives, you can create a roadmap to success tailored to your individual needs. Here are some examples of developmental goals that can help you reach your professional aspirations: 

1. Professional skills development to be your best self

This type of goal focuses on honing existing skills or learning new ones. Whatever your interests, having clear targets for improving specific abilities will help boost productivity and confidence as you take on new challenges. 

These skills also function as career advancement tools. With more money and status comes more responsibility; you must prepare in advance by gaining the skill and knowledge to handle the new commitments a higher-level position will bring.

Whatever it looks like for you, having clear goals can help focus your efforts and get you closer to reaching the next level in your career. 

2. Leadership development in preparation for the future

Are you wondering if you have what it takes to take the reins? Setting development goals with this in mind can help prepare you for potential leadership opportunities in your organization or elsewhere. 

3. Network expansion to open doors

Making connections is vital to success in any career field. A development goal related to networking could prompt you to engage with people who may be able to open doors for you down the line. 

4. Educational pursuits to continuously grow and learn

Have you wanted to go back and finish a degree, take classes in a new subject area, or brush up on certain skills? Setting educational goals can help motivate you towards achieving these objectives while increasing your marketability—within and without your company—simultaneously. 

5. Self-improvement for overall wellbeing

Setting goals related to self-improvement and striking a work-life balance can help you become the best version of yourself. Whatever it looks like for you, investing in yourself can have lasting benefits in all areas of your life. 

Get stories like this in your inbox

Examples of development goals

Let's look at concrete examples of each type of development goal and how they can help you. 

1. Professional skills development

  • Learning a new programming language: Developing the ability to code in a new language allows you to expand your skill set and increase the value of your services. It also allows you to create applications with more complex features and further refine existing products. 
  • Enhancing your presentation skills: Being able to present confidently in a professional setting can open up more opportunities for career advancement and allow you to communicate ideas with colleagues or clients effectively.

2. Leadership development

  • Active listening: By taking the time to understand what others are saying entirely, you’ll gain insight into their needs and perspectives, learn how best to work with them, and develop better relationships. This ensures you become an effective leader who can motivate team members and maximize productivity. 
  • Strategic thinking: Reasoning more effectively will help you make decisions in the company's best interest to achieve its goals. You’ll be better equipped to solve problems, create innovative solutions, and recognize potential opportunities. This will enhance your value as a leader who can drive results.

3. Network expansion

  • Attend networking events: Networking events offer an excellent opportunity for attendees to meet and connect with like-minded people who share similar interests. By attending these events, you can build relationships with potential employers or collaborators that could prove beneficial down the line. 
  • Leverage online networking platforms: Social media effectively finds and connects with potential employers, collaborators, or mentors. Utilize the power of these networking sites to introduce yourself and promote your skillset. 

4. Educational pursuits

  • Learning a new language: Knowing a foreign language can open up job opportunities in global companies or even increase your chances of landing a promotion. Many online resources, such as apps like Rosetta Stone or Duolingo, make learning easy and convenient. 
  • Taking courses related to your field: Investing in yourself by taking classes relevant to the industry will keep you up-to-date on the latest trends and technology. This can help you stay ahead of the competition, increase marketability, and advance in your field. 

5. Self-improvement 

  • Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity reduces stress, improves mental health, boosts energy levels, and even stimulates creativity. By setting a goal to exercise regularly—whether going for a run or taking an online yoga class—you can progress toward improving your overall well-being. 
  • Develop a hobby: Taking up a new hobby can effectively relieve stress and enhance productivity. Whether it's learning a language, painting, or playing guitar—find something that sparks your interest and make time for it in your schedule. This strategy will satisfy you and help you focus on achieving other goals. 

Strategies for setting and achieving development goals


To ensure success in your goal-setting journey, consider implementing these strategies: 

  • Create a plan of action: Identify specific milestones that need to be completed along the way and establish achievable deadlines. 
  • Break it down: Break large goals into smaller, more manageable steps. 
  • Track progress: Use tracking tools or methods to monitor progress regularly.
  • Use SMART goal-setting techniques: Make sure all goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. 
  • Stay accountable: Share your goals with a trusted colleague or friend who can help you stay on track. 
  • Seek feedback: Seek honest, constructive feedback from colleagues and mentors throughout the process to ensure you are on the right track. 

Following these tips, you can set yourself up for success and reach your developmental goals!

Final thoughts

Setting and achieving development goals is essential to professional success and personal growth in the workplace. As you work towards your development goals, remember that having a clear action plan can make all the difference. 

Ask yourself: What have I done so far? What do I need to do next? 

Plenty of resources are out there to help you start your journey to improvement. Consider investing in software like performance management systems,  where you can track and measure your development goals and platforms to communicate and support company culture. 

With the right tools, you can be sure you are on the path to success!


Engagement isn't enough

Find our why HR leaders are building a culture of success

Get your guide to success


  • Share this:

Add your comments