4 Best Ways to Create Leadership Development Plans

A leadership development plan is a detailed plan that helps you set your career towards advanced leadership roles and senior management positions. It is an invaluable tool to strategically guide you throughout your career growth and professional development.

With a leadership development plan, you will achieve the following:

  • Greater overall career satisfaction
  • More interesting opportunities & challenges
  • More impactful career

Despite these definitions, information gaps still remain.

  • What should be included in a leadership development plan?
  • What are the other benefits of creating such a plan?

These questions will be answered by reading this article. Details on how to create leadership development plans will also be outlined.  

Creating Leadership Development Plans in 4 Ways

There are 4 main components that must be always included when designing a leadership

development program. These components are listed below:

1. Create a career vision. 

The vision that you place for your career is the most important part of a leadership development plan.

It will set the overall tone of voice for the professional development strategies you must run. You need to meditate on what you really want to achieve with your professional life. You also need to think deeply about your previous achievements and assess whether they contributed to your career growth and development. You need to honestly assess yourself with regards to your strengths and weaknesses, as well as leadership competencies and technical skills.

In fact, this will ensure that you will be able to bridge the gap between your current situation and the things you want to achieve.

2. Make leadership development goals with a clear timeline.

After creating a vision for your career, it is now the time to create leadership development goals with a clear timeline.

Leadership Development PlanHaving a clear and very specific timeline for achieving results will ensure that you make your vision a reality. It will push you further to take specific actions in order to reach your long-term professional development goals. This will also lead you to take make pro-active steps that are time-bound in support of your career vision.

3. Include specific action steps that can be measured daily, weekly or monthly.

As the saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” You can’t expect to achieve your career vision in a very short span of time. This is why you need to create specific action steps that can be measured from time to time. They must not only be specific, but also measurable and realistic. Results of the action steps must be measured by the key performance indicators that can be monitored daily, weekly or monthly

4. Have a regular assessment & evaluation of the overall leadership development plan.

You need to regularly reassess your leadership development plan to keep it relevant. You can’t always expect to have the perfect plan. This is the reason why assessment and evaluation is very important.

Implementing such strategy can actually produce a feedback mechanism. You will then be able to adjust the leadership development plan easily in order to address the deficiencies and the problems encountered. You can also change it quickly when there is a change in your career vision. Leadership development plans must be flexible.

4 Occasions for Leadership Development Programs

1. Early career

Young, ambitious managers with 5 to 10 years of business experience can prepare for greater responsibility and accelerate their careers with business management training.

2. Mid-career

An executive development program can provide mid-career managers with the skills to create higher value for their organizations and drive performance in a fast-changing global environment. Such programs will also improve your networks at this important time. This is also the time to consider business management degrees.

3. When facing specific challenges

Leaders facing specific business challenges in business development strategy, finance, sustainability or operations can benefit from business management programs that focus on sharpening analytical and strategic leadership skills.

4. Top level

 As a senior executive, or CEO, you need to ensure you continue to identify the right business opportunities, drive innovation and lead with conviction. An executive leadership development program specifically designed for top managers, as well as board member training, will help you stay cutting-edge and ultimately reach the highest pinnacle of your leadership development plan.

The Essence of Leadership Development Programs

Leadership development programs are a critical element of a comprehensive leadership development plan. By integrating leadership development training into your plan, you’ll be ready to make the most out of opportunities for consistent career progress, and be confident as you step into new roles or face new challenges. The trick, of course, is to pick the right leadership development program for the right moment.

Personal Leadership Development PlanFor example, young managers with around 8 years of experience should be looking to advance in their roles – which should be reflected in their leadership development plan as the time to become a more impactful leader.

Such managers can develop their leadership skills through leadership training programs focusing on developing personal leadership styles. This could include better self-awareness, understanding the dynamics of human behavior in different situations, and practising leadership with small and large teams. Integrated leadership coaching can also be helpful.

By including a quality leadership development program in their leadership development plan, young managers can master the mobilizing of people towards business goals - improving their current performance and demonstrating they are ready for the next career step.

Do You Want to Improve Your Leadership Skills?

  • The Financial Times acknowledged IMD as one of the best institutions in the world for executive education and open programs.
  • Our Advanced Management Program is 100% committed to developing global leaders through high-impact executive education.
  • Take your career to the next level today by strengthening your existing skills and acquiring the skills you are missing.

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