4 tips for how to follow through on your goals

Execution — or the ability to complete tasks and objectives — is key to success. Not only does the ability to follow through please your boss, but it also will likely aid you in future career advancement opportunities.

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, respectively the CEO and president of Zenger/Folkman, set out to uncover how crucial execution is, according to the Harvard Business Review.

As part of their research, they analyzed thousands of leaders' performance reviews. What they found was that senior managers listed execution as the No. 1 most important attribute on a list of 16 skills employees can possess.

In addition, they looked at what other behaviors leaders possess that allow them to be effective at execution. Here are four key tips on how to follow through on and execute your workplace commitments, according to the Harvard Business Review.

1. Stay organized and systematic. Instead of jumping into activities or tasks without a clear plan, slow down and take time prepare. Formulate a plan. Give your team members guidance and direction so they have a sense of where they're going with their work. Avoid disorganization and a lack of planning — chances are it will prevent you from reaching your long-term goals.

2. Come up with deadlines, but don't overdo it. Set long-term goals and deadlines for your team members. "While we may not like it, when someone gives us a deadline, our behavior changes," Mr. Zenger and Mr. Folkman write. "Simply setting deadlines for goals and objectives goes a long way toward achieving those goals and objectives!" However, refrain from overdoing it. If you start setting too many deadlines for your team members, their attitude will be negatively impacted and your requests may not be fulfilled.

3. Hand out more positive feedback. In addition to boosting your team members' external morale through goal and deadline setting, work toward intrinsically motivating your employees by doling out feedback and "by taking the time to listen to and understand [your] employees' perspectives," according to Mr. Zenger and Mr. Folkman.

4. Resolve conflict and promote a team culture of unity. When your team members get along, work well together and motivate each other, you'll be successful in accomplishing your goals. As a leader, work to build a sense of unity among your employees. But when conflict inevitably arises, focus on resolving it. As Mr. Zenger and Mr. Folkman point out, solving conflict is one of — if not the sole — biggest thing leaders should focus on to improve their execution skills.

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