Leadership Development Plans

6 Steps To Good Leadership Development Plans For You

When leaders are development-ready, they’re able to adapt to different situations and apply leadership skills effectively‚ÄĒhaving a leadership development plan allows individuals to develop leadership skills that will help them become more effective leaders. Just as individuals have personal development plans for career and professional development, organizations also have leadership development plans. This type of plan helps employees grow and become better leaders.

What is leadership development?

Leadership development is the process of helping individuals become better leaders. It involves training, education, and experience. A leadership development plan typically includes goals, objectives, and strategies. These goals and objectives determine the type of training or experience a person needs and the pace at which they should receive that activity or experience. This plan is tailored to the individual’s needs and interests, considering their background, goals, and aspirations. Following a plan can improve an individual’s ability to make good decisions and develop practical leadership skills.

Leaders who have developed strong leadership skills can build trust among employees and stakeholders, create positive organizational climates, lead change effectively, and more. They are also better equipped to excel in their roles and perform better.

What is a leadership development plan?

A leadership development plan is a program created to help individuals grow and develop their leadership skills. A leadership development plan should be tailored to the individual’s needs and goals and include activities that support the person in building leadership skills and abilities. For example, the plan may consist of workshops, group activities, and role-play simulations. In addition, the plan should be updated regularly by the organizations to reflect individual skills and abilities changes. A well-crafted leadership plan can help an individual become a more effective leader, improving employee engagement and morale within the organization.

Benefits of a Personal Leadership Development Plan

A personal leadership development plan is valuable for improving skills and knowledge and developing new abilities and strengths. It can help you focus on your personal goals and objectives, create a positive attitude and work ethic, develop strong team skills, and develop the skills necessary to lead and manage yourself effectively. A personal leadership development plan can also help you create a roadmap of goals, strategies, and objectives, track your progress, and stay focused on your goals. Overall, personal leadership development plans offer many benefits for individuals of all ages.

Types of leadership development plans

Below are the two types of leadership development plans: –

Individual leadership development plans

These are the plans tailored to the individual employee’s specific needs, goals, and career aspirations. They may include activities such as coaching, mentoring, or self-directed learning. These plans are particularly effective for high-potential employees groomed for leadership roles or those with specific development needs.

Group leadership development plans

These on the other hand, are designed to develop leadership skills and knowledge among a group of employees. These plans may include team-building exercises, workshops, or training programs. Group leadership development plans are particularly effective for developing a team or department’s skills and knowledge.

Both individual and group leadership development plans have their advantages and disadvantages. Individual programs are more tailored to the specific needs of the individual employee, but they can be more expensive and time-consuming to implement. Group plans, on the other hand, are less costly and more efficient, but they may not address the specific needs of individual employees.

Ultimately, the best approach will depend on the specific needs of the organization and the employees. Combining individual and group plans may be the most effective way to develop leaders within an organization.

Components of a leadership development plan

A leadership development plan is a plan that outlines the process and goals of leadership development for an individual, team, or organization. Essentially, it’s a road map of leadership development goals and objectives. In addition, it provides direction on how to achieve leadership development goals.

A plan for leadership development typically includes the following key components:

  • Needs assessment: A thorough evaluation of the organization’s current leadership skills and knowledge, as well as identification of any specific challenges or issues the organization is facing.
  • Goals and objectives: Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals and objectives that align with the overall goals of the organization and address the identified needs.
  • Development methods: Selection of the most appropriate methods for achieving the goals and objectives of the plan, such as mentoring, coaching, training programs, workshops, or online courses.
  • Timeline and milestones: A schedule for the plan’s implementation, including milestones and deadlines, should be followed to ensure that the plan stays on track and that progress can be monitored.
  • Resources: Identification of the resources required for the plan, such as funding, personnel, and materials, and ensuring that they are available.
  • Monitoring and evaluation: Regular monitoring of the progress of the plan, assessment of the effectiveness of the development methods, and making any necessary adjustments.
  • Communication and buy-in: Communication of the plan to all stakeholders, including employees, managers, and executives, to ensure buy-in and support for training.
  • Measuring success: Establishing metrics to measure the success of the leadership development plan and regularly reviewing the progress and impact of the program.
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How to develop a leadership development plan?

A leadership development plan is a roadmap of action and reflection that guides an individual toward leadership development goals. The following steps will help you create a plan for leadership development that caters to your needs and requirements. 

1. Assess current leadership development needs

The first step in developing a leadership development plan is to assess the organization’s current needs. This includes identifying gaps in skills and knowledge, as well as any specific challenges or issues the organization faces. The assessment can be conducted through surveys, interviews, focus groups, or other methods and should involve input from employees at all levels of the organization.

Assessment is the first and most critical step for developing leadership development plans. We are here to get you smoothly started on the task. Go to Risely to find out the various free self-assessments we provide to assess your multiple skills as a manager or leader. These assessments will help you identify the gaps in your leadership and empower you with the necessary information to develop these skills.

2. Define goals and objectives

After identifying the goals and objectives, the next step is to define the goals and objectives of the leadership development plan. These should align with the organization’s overall goals and address the identified needs. The goals and objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Here are some effective tips for managers on how to set SMART goals and make them a reality.

3. Identify target audience

The target audience for the leadership development plan should be determined based on the goals and objectives. This could include current leaders who need to improve specific skills, high-potential employees for leadership roles, or new hires who need to develop leadership skills. Remember to include the often overlooked profiles: think of mid-level manager training or leadership development for supervisors, as their impact on team performance is quite direct.

4. Select development methods

The next step is to select the most appropriate methods for achieving the goals and objectives of the plan. Various development ways include mentoring, coaching, training programs, workshops, online courses, or a combination of methods. The methods should be chosen based on the identified needs and target audience and tailored to the organization’s culture and resources.

5. Create a timeline

A plan implementation schedule should be developed, including milestones and deadlines. A timeline will help to ensure that the plan stays on track and that progress can be monitored.

6. Allocate resources

Identify the resources required for the plan, such as funding, personnel, and materials, and ensure they are available. For example, resource allocation could include budgeting for training programs, hiring additional staff, or purchasing materials.

7. Communicate the plan

Communicate the plan to all stakeholders, including employees, managers, and executives, to ensure buy-in and support. This includes communicating the goals and objectives of the program, the target audience, and the methods used. In addition, it is essential to keep all stakeholders informed of progress and to involve them in the monitoring and evaluation process.

Check out How Open Communication Boosts Productivity Understand With 3 Examples

8. Monitor and evaluate progress

Regularly monitor the plan’s progress, assess the development methods’ effectiveness, and make any necessary adjustments. This includes tracking the progress of individual participants as well as the overall success of the plan.

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Leadership Development Plans Examples

A leadership development plan is a valuable tool for developing the skills and knowledge needed for effective leadership. A well-crafted plan can help individuals develop the skills, abilities, and knowledge required to be influential leaders in their organizations. Not only does it help individuals grow as leaders, but it also helps them become better team members.

Let’s take the example of an L&D head, Alex, creating a leadership development plan for her newly promoted managers. She has noticed that they face a few challenges and thinks a shared plan would be the best way to move forward, as it creates opportunities to interact with people in similar contexts and challenges. Here’s how she develops a leadership development plan for managers: 

Set up the goals first 
Developing a plan starts by identifying the objectives. Alex does this by analyzing the skill gaps she has observed and assessed. She also asks the managers about the challenges they are facing. Ultimately, she narrows down these goals for the leadership development plan:

  • ¬† ¬†Enhance leadership skills and capabilities of five newly promoted managers.
  • ¬† ¬†Foster effective communication and team collaboration.
  • ¬† ¬†Develop strategic thinking and decision-making abilities.
  • ¬† ¬†Strengthen emotional intelligence and resilience in leadership roles.
  • ¬† ¬†Cultivate a growth mindset and continuous learning culture.
Timelines and methods
Alex recognizes that developing leadership capabilities is more than just a one-stop job. Instead, it is going to take time and effort. Hence, she sets up the timeline for the leadership development plan for new managers of her team as follows: 

  • Duration: 6 months
  • Monthly training sessions: Each month, a dedicated training session will focus on specific leadership competencies.
  • Ongoing coaching and mentorship: Managers will receive bi-weekly one-on-one coaching sessions and quarterly group mentorship meetings. Alex will also integrate in-house SMEs and seniors as coaches to provide socialization opportunities.
Resources – Where to learn from?
Alex has created a mix of resources and training methods for the leadership development plan to encourage self-directed learning and engage multiple people who learn and think differently. It includes:

  • External Leadership Workshops: Attending external leadership workshops or seminars focusing on effective communication, strategic planning, and emotional intelligence.
  • Internal Training Modules: Customized training modules developed in-house, covering topics like conflict resolution, change management, and team dynamics.
  • Leadership Books and Resources: Access relevant leadership books, articles, podcasts, and online courses to supplement learning.
  • Guest Speakers and Subject Matter Experts: Inviting industry experts and senior leaders within the organization to share insights and best practices.
  • Leadership Assessments: Utilization of leadership assessment tools to identify strengths and areas for development, such as 360-degree feedback assessments and personality assessments like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or Risely’s skill assessments.
Assessment and Evaluation Methods
Training cannot go on without assessment and evaluation. Alex has established a system of reviews and feedback to ensure that the personal leadership development plans are working effectively.

  • Pre-Assessment: Conduct initial assessments to identify each manager’s current leadership skills, strengths, and areas for improvement.
  • Monthly Progress Reviews: Regular check-ins to assess progress against development goals and provide feedback on performance.
  • 360-Degree Feedback: Collect feedback from direct reports, peers, and supervisors to gain insights into leadership effectiveness and areas for growth.
  • Leadership Competency Assessments: Periodic assessments to evaluate proficiency in key leadership competencies, such as communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution.
  • Post-Program Evaluation: Gather feedback from participants regarding the development program’s effectiveness, areas of improvement, and suggestions for future enhancements.
By implementing this comprehensive leadership development plan, Alex aims to equip her newly promoted managers with the necessary skills, knowledge, and mindset to excel in their leadership roles and drive organizational success.

A few other leadership development plan examples can look like:

  • Rotational leadership program: This program provides employees with hands-on training and experience in leadership roles through job rotations. It allows employees to gain experience in different areas of the organization and develop a broad range of leadership skills.
  • Executive coaching program: A program that pairs senior leaders with experienced coaches who provide guidance, feedback, and support in communication, decision-making, and strategic thinking.
  • Mentoring program: A program that matches less experienced employees with more experienced leaders who provide guidance, advice, and support. Mentoring is done one-on-one or in a group setting.
  • Leadership training workshops: A series of workshops or seminars that provide employees with knowledge and skills in communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.
  • Self-paced e-learning program: An online program that allows employees to learn at their own pace and location. It covers various leadership topics, such as emotional intelligence, change management, and mentoring.¬†


In conclusion, leadership development plans are essential for organizations looking to develop and retain strong leaders. A well-designed plan should include a thorough needs assessment, clear goals and objectives, appropriate development methods, a timeline and milestones, sufficient resources, regular monitoring and evaluation, communication and buy-in from stakeholders, a follow-up and sustainability plan, and metrics to measure success.

Organizations can improve their performance and achieve their goals by providing employees with the knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to become influential leaders. With the ever-changing business environment and the constant need for innovation, it is more important than ever to have a strong leadership development plan in place. These plans will benefit the organization and the individuals who will grow and evolve with the organization.

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