Why humility is key to achieving your 2023 goals

Much like the start of the year, a new quarter can often be a time for optimism and reflection. It offers business leaders the opportunity to look back at their organisation’s progress in the previous months and revise their plans as they work towards the overall goals for the year ahead.

But in the current climate - with the additional pressures of increasing costs, high inflation, and burnout affecting employees across the world – achieving the goals many leaders set at the start of the year may seem like an uphill struggle.

When progress is slow and the path ahead uncertain, it’s important that we, as HR professionals, do not falter. Instead, we must carve a courageous path and ensure that we lead our organisations with humility, love, and purpose.

This is all the more important as HR is one of the most critical roles in organisations and is a leadership role.

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All business and HR leaders are committed to achieving a set of specific goals tied to their responsibilities, and setting these objectives requires ambition and self-belief in both themselves and their capabilities.

However, progress as an organisation relies on an alignment of resources and direction so it is impossible to make a difference without the help of others.

Every human being is inherently individual, with their own strengths and weaknesses which they bring to their roles and teams.

As such, it is imperative that everyone understands how they contribute to the company’s goals and objectives on an individual and group level.

Initiatives like employee resource groups and internal forums are a great way to seek input from a wider audience, but HR leaders and line managers must also build relationships with the individuals in their teams and organisations in order to understand their personal needs and ideas.

Being willing to learn and seek advice from others does not diminish your own abilities, but rather is a sign of true self-acceptance and love for yourself and others.

In tough times, teams need leaders who are resilient and can make the case for moving forward despite the obstacles.

Clarity in why you act as you do as a leader, and aligning that with your organisations’ goals and purpose, can make it far easier to picture the road ahead and motivate others to continue working together towards your goals when results are slow.

Progress is not always linear, and knockbacks can sometimes cause us to doubt our plans and purpose.

Humility enables you to accept that mistakes could affect or delay your plans without seeing these changes as failures.

Rather, leaders with humility can embrace them as opportunities to adapt and potentially create even better results, knowing that they are doing the right thing by their people and stakeholders.

Creating a better world and more inclusive workplaces takes work and a dedication from everyone. Testing and learning through frequent reviews and feedback enables you to assess your direction and make necessary changes as a cohesive unit.

Reminding yourself of the tangible and intangible business case for your plans, and ensuring your stakeholders and gatekeepers are on the same page, is also key to holding yourself and others to account for the company’s progress.  

A final note to leave you on. As we continue to face difficult times, it’s important that we acknowledge the steps we take along the way.

Building a more diverse talent pipeline or launching a mentorship scheme are long-term commitments with short-term actions that can, and should, be recognised.

Each is an opportunity to learn from as a team so as you reflect on the path ahead, remind yourself and your people that every step forward should be celebrated – no matter how small.

Yetunde Hofmann is a board level executive leadership coach, author and mentor and founder of leadership development programme Solaris