This article is part of The Ascender, the Highrise platform for articles and resources.
How To

Leadership Development Plan: Templates and Examples

Andrew Langat
December 7, 2022
A leadership development plan document with graphs and metrics.
Read our case studies document and learn how Highrise helped other individuals to improve their professionnal skills and careers.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile. - Vince Lombardi

Good leadership is crucial to all organizational success, yet many businesses overlook the need for long-term leadership professional development programs.

Every successful company relies on good leadership, so it is prudent to have a clear pathway to nurture leadership skills for future leaders.

Typical avenues for leadership development could include mentoring, executive leadership coaching, and other programs.

These programs offer team members the chance to develop leadership skills as they advance to senior leadership positions.

In addition to providing a leadership path for team members, leadership development plans also benefit team morale, productivity, creativity, motivation, and innovation. Team members understand the value of their work and thus feel more connected to the company or organization.

<div id="one">

What is Leadership Development?

Leadership development is a process designed to improve a leader's competency, confidence, and capacity. Leadership development varies depending on set objectives, with mentoring and coaching being the two most popular to realize set goals.

Leadership development programs can either take place through virtual coaching or though-in-person coaching.

For an individual in leadership, having a leadership development plan shows that you are flexible, demonstrate analytical and strategic foresight, and show a commitment to leadership competency.

Other individual benefits of a leadership development plan include:

  • Improved professional relationships
  • Team members learn how to take initiative
  • Team members develop strategic thinking and analytical thinking to overcome obstacles.
  • Leaders get the ability to communicate their vision
  • Team members learn how to be accountable and delegate more
  • A leadership development plan creates skilled and empowered employees
  • Creates mission-driven team members with a shared vision
An executive posing for the camera with "productivity" written on the background wall.

<div id="two">

When Should You Create a Personal Leadership Development Plan?

There are several points in one’s career trajectory when you need to create a leadership development plan. As you gain more skills and experience, you may progress into more advanced roles with more responsibilities requiring leadership training.

There is no lower or upper limit for creating a leadership development plan; nevertheless, you should consider a leadership development plan at the following points of your career trajectory. 

  • Early Career: A leadership development plan early in your career lets you learn what it means to be a good leader, and in addition, it lets you spot and confronts leadership blind spots early on in your career that you can use to improve leadership skills.
  • Mid Career: Creating a leadership development plan mid-career lets you evaluate your leadership development with the benefit of hindsight, and it also lets you re-evaluate leadership blind spots. 
  • Late Career: A late-career leadership development plan lets you reconsider the nature of leadership and how it has changed during your long career. This can be leveraged in developing a leadership development program for the benefit of future leaders.
  • Assuming a New Role: A new role at a company or organization brings in a large set of challenges, including how to integrate into the leadership structure at the new workplace. Leadership development training can help you overcome these hurdles and align your leadership hopes with your new role. 

<div id="three">

Template for Creating a Personal Development Plan For Individuals

To create an effective leadership development plan, do the following:

1. Define the Traits of a Great Leader

Human traits make leaders either successful or unsuccessful. They play a big role in leadership presence. You can predict the quality of a leader based on their attributes and gauge the success or failure of a leadership development plan. The big five human personality traits include Neuroticism, Extroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness to experience.

Knowing these traits will lay a foundation for your leadership development plan. These traits can be imparted to team members at all levels of the organization.

Additionally, leadership traits are useful filters for talent. Team leaders can utilize information about the team’s traits to evaluate their capabilities and assess what areas need reinforcement. 

2. Identify Your Core Values

Core values are necessary for leaders to maintain direction during times of uncertainty. They are fundamental beliefs that guide leaders’ behavior and help them navigate the line between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Examples of core values include respect, integrity, authenticity, courage, and service.

For several reasons, identifying core values when developing a leadership development plan is essential.

First, core values act as waypoints on the leadership development path.  They mark the correct route to achieving goals.

Secondly, core values determine the type of leaders to come out of your leadership development plan. Core values like ambition, integrity, passion and dedication can rub off your leadership development plan participants.

Finally, core values will shape the external image of your leadership development plan and either attract or repel outside talent.

3. Identify Gaps in Existing Leadership Styles.

Setting up a leadership development plan involves fixing gaps in existing leadership styles. Gaps in leadership skills are typically caused by shifts in workforce requirements due to changes like work, talent leaving for competing organizations, poor staffing practices, and retirement.

To identify gaps in your leadership, you need to ask yourself, What do you have? What leadership skills do you need?

Answering these questions will identify leadership gaps and how your leadership development plan will help you fill these gaps. This will ensure inclusive leadership to enhance employee engagement.

4. Have Goals and Objectives

Leadership development is a journey; like any other journey, you must have a destination to create a successful leadership development plan.

Goals and objectives for a leadership development plan could include:

  • Active listening and other communication skills
  • Adaptability to feedback, growth, and other changes
  • Enhanced emotional intelligence
  • Dynamism and efficiency
  • Recognition of other people’s work
  • Transparency and accountability 

5. Be Realistic and Results-Oriented

Realism and results orientation enhances transparency with various stakeholders, keep team members apprised of the company’s current challenges or organization, and keep avenues open for other possible solutions to problems.

With this in mind, your leadership development plan should mold you into a realistic leader with clear objectives for changing the company or organization.  

6. Assess and Reassess Your Growth Path as a Leader

Leadership assessments and reassessments will give you an objective appraisal of the progress of your leadership development plan.

It is a crucial step as it lets you identify areas of strength and weakness.

This information will give you insights into whether your leadership development plan is working. There are many leadership assessment tools to choose from, and they usually try to gauge leadership effectiveness based on a set criterion.

Assessments and reassessments reduce the risk of failure and inject new optimism into the leadership development plan.

7. Share your Leadership Plan with Others

The leadership development journey is long, and more often than not, one can become unmotivated. Sharing your leadership development plan will keep you accountable to yourself and increase motivation in several ways.

First, telling others about your plan means that you care what others think of you. Telling your mentor, family members, or friends about your leadership hopes will keep you accountable and increase the chances of earning their support.

Secondly, sharing your leadership plan with others will clarify the development’s goals and objectives. Speaking with team members, mentors, and coaches will sharpen your process and possibly save you time.

Finally, sharing your leadership plan will earn you the emotional support of others. It is a chance to feel valued, prove your usefulness, and showcase your intelligence and creativity.

Want to read more from us? Subscribe to our newsletter to read our latest resources

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

<div id="four">

Template For Leadership Development Plans For Organizations

Principally, every organization needs a leadership development plan as part of professional development. The process should be objective and able to adapt to competing ambitions and leadership expectations.

Why Leadership Development Matters

When organizations create leadership development plans, it not only promotes leadership competencies but also leads to the following:

1. It Makes Long-Term Planning Possible

Long-term planning for any organization is only possible with stable leadership. A leadership development plan prevents leadership redundancy in case of unforeseen circumstances. Points of Virginia Marie Rometty offers a classic example of why leadership development matters.

When she assumed the CEO role in 2012, she steadily rose through the company ranks from a system engineer to senior vice president and group executive in charge of Sales and marketing. 

2. Uncovers Hidden talents 

A leadership development plan can uncover hidden talents, new strategies, or where blind spots lay. Recognizing new opportunities is one of the hallmarks of great leaders.

A leadership development plan extracts the best out of talent as it acts as an outlet rather than an evaluation platform. This enables the company to tap the best possible output from employees.

3. Growth Opportunities to Junior Employees

A leadership development plan provides a clear path to leadership for employees with ambitions to occupy senior positions. With the right strategy in place, the organization can guide employees through the long route to leadership and achieve career objectives.

4. It Provides Clarity 

Leadership within any organization or company is a complex topic. Every leader has a unique way of expressing their vision to a group and guiding them to achieve it.

A leadership development plan helps leaders fulfill their responsibilities by clarifying their needs in specific instances.

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Create a Leadership Development Template for Organizations

1. Define Leadership Development Goals

As a rule of thumb, goals should be S.M.A.R.T.-specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. 

This simple rule should keep your leadership or executive coaching aligned with long-term organizational goals.

Here are some leadership development goals to consider:

  • Develop a sense of personal responsibility
  • Practice Self Discipline
  • Develop communication skills
  • Gain new knowledge
  • Hone time management skills
  • Foster a mentorship culture
  • Develop big-picture thinking in leadership

All this is just the tip of the iceberg of appropriate goals for leadership development. Plans can vary due to an organization's nature, size, core purpose, future ambitions, and many other factors.

Whatever goals you choose to focus ey should be the foundation of leadership development plans. All other steps come after clear goals have been defined.  

2. Determine the Positive Traits of a Good Leader 

When designing a leadership development plan, outside references could boost efficiency and cut development to when creating a leadership development plan. Positive leadership skills have led the world to great things. It would be prudent to follow the path laid out by these leaders.

For instance, President Kennedy's famous speech to NASA spurred a series of engineering and scientific breakthroughs that ultimately culminated in humanity landing on the moon in 1969.

President Kennedy's vision of what was possible in the future despite technological limitations is a great leadership trait that should be emulated in all leadership development programs.

While it may be impossible to catalog every positive leadership trait, you should determine achievable ones and replicate them in your plan. 

Here are some positive leadership traits one can emulate in their leadership development plan:

  • Vision
  • Integrity
  • Accountability
  • Empath
  • Resilience
  • Humility
  • Purpose

These traits will, directly and indirectly, influence the quality of leaders from your development plan. 

3. Make Use of Assessment Tools 

Leadership and its impact on success or failure have been studied for decades. From this deep knowledge and decades of data, several people have developed leadership assessment tools as objective measures of leadership quality.

With these assessment tools, you can determine who's ready to put in work and areas of deficiency and keep track of leadership development progress.

There are hundreds of leadership assessments available through multiple platforms. The most basic tools can model different values and spot misalignments in behavior, determine if a leader can negotiate conflicts, obstacles, or external pressure, test for responsibility, test relationships, test communication skills, test creativity and resourcefulness, and assess the impact of leadership development. 

4. Review Leadership Development Goals after the Assessment

A leadership development plan should be dynamic and flexible enough to accommodate changes in personnel, environment, or other external factors.

This capability is beneficial after the assessment of participants. 

Adjustments inevitably have to be made after the assessment stage to ensure fidelity to the original goals of the leadership development plan.

 Adjustments to the original plan will let you explore blind spots, pair leadership trainees with new mentors, and set new timelines based on the latest information.

5. Engage Mentors and Coaches 

Coaches and mentors are essential to leadership development plans. They provide support and feedback to executive coaching and leadership coaching.

Coaches and mentors solidify the leadership development plan and provide a way to enforce accountability through an outside party.

 6. Track Leadership Development Over Time 

This step might be dismissed, but it is perhaps the most critical step of leadership development. Keeping track of leadership development lets you know if you are progressing toward previously set goals.

Measuring leadership development could be difficult, but you can use these basic steps to track progress:

  • Confirm objectives
  • Establish key actions to prioritize
  • Establish checkpoints to ensure accountability
  • Diagnose problems
  • Adjust course if necessary
Inspiring, isn’t it ? Want to learn more about connecting self-awareness to professional development? Get in touch today.

<div id="five">

How Highrise Can Help

At Highrise, we understand that the right time to prepare for future leadership is now. Organizations that consistently churn out good leaders have clearly defined leadership goals that align with their business objectives.

Contact us today if you want to create hire a leadership coach for a comprehensive personal development plan for leadership.

Highrise is here for you.

Thank you! Your Downloads is here:
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Andrew Langat
Facebook logoTwitter logo
Andrew Langat is an experienced content specialist in Leadership, Productivity, Education, Fintech, and Research. He is an avid reader and loves swimming as a hobby. He believes that quality content should be actionable and helpful.