Expert Advice on Creating and Implementing Your Leadership Development Plan

leadership development plan
Management / Self Improvement

Expert Advice on Creating and Implementing Your Leadership Development Plan

Ever feel that nagging sense you could be a better leader? You’re not alone. Leadership is a skill that requires constant honing, and the best leaders are always looking for ways to their game. that’s where a leadership development plan comes in.

It’s a chance to identify your strengths and weaknesses, set clear goals, and outline the steps you’ll take to become the leader you aspire to be.

This blog post is your one-stop shop for crafting a powerful leadership development plan. We’ll explore the essential components, look into the planning process, and even provide expert advice from seasoned leaders to help you go through your journey.

Why Create a Leadership Development Plan?

Here are some compelling reasons:

  • Become a more effective leader: A well-crafted plan helps you identify areas for improvement and provides a structured approach to developing your leadership skills.
  • Boost your confidence: As you master new skills and achieve your goals, your confidence as a leader rises.
  • Increase your career opportunities: Strong leadership skills are highly sought after in today’s job market. Hence, a development plan demonstrates your commitment to growth and can make you more attractive for leadership positions.
  • Empower your team: Your leadership style sets the tone for your team. By investing in your development, you’ll create a positive and productive work environment for everyone.
  • Stay ahead of the curve: Just as the business world is constantly evolving and effective leadership requires adaptability, it is important to stay updated with the latest trends and imbibe the best practices.

You should read this: Charting Your Path: Expert Perspectives and Real-Life Examples of Individual Development Plans

What are the 5 Essential Components of a Leadership Development Plan?

Now that you understand the core components of a leadership development plan, here’s a basic framework to get you started:


All of your considerations start with an honest introgression. Identify your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. It could involve seeking feedback from colleagues, mentors, or even taking a leadership assessment tool.

Goal Setting

If you’re able to figure out where you want to be as a leader, then, you should set SMART goals that align with your overall leadership aspirations.

Development Activities

This is where you map out the concrete steps you’ll need to achieve those goals. It’ll involve attending leadership workshops, seeking out a mentor, reading leadership books, or participating in online courses.

Action Plan

Don’t just dream it, do it! Create a concrete action plan with specific activities, timelines, and resources needed to achieve your goals.

Evaluation and Feedback

Leadership development is a never-ending process. Regularly evaluate your progress and adjust your plan as needed. Seek feedback from others and celebrate your successes as you thrive.

Read: Understanding How Interpersonal Skills Drive Effective Leadership

The Basic Leadership Plan

To build your leadership blueprint, here’s a basic framework to get started:

Step 1: Discovering your leadership DNA

Here’s how to conduct a thorough self-assessment

  • Strengths: What are you naturally good at as a leader? Are you a strong communicator, a motivator, or a problem-solver?
  • Weaknesses: No one is perfect. Identify areas where you can improve. Do you struggle with delegation, giving feedback, or managing, conflict?
  • Leadership style: What’s your natural leadership style? Are you a democratic leader who values collaboration, or a more directive leader who provides clear instructions? Understanding your style is key to leveraging your strengths while working on areas for improvement.

Tools for Self-assessment

  • Self-reflection
  • 360-degree feedback
  • Online tools

Step 2: Goal setting

Remember the SMART principle:

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want to achieve
  • Measurable: Establish a way to track your progress. This could involve setting milestones or using metrics to gauge improvement.
  • Achievable: Be ambitious, but realistic. Set goals that challenge you, but are attainable within the timeframe you set.
  • Relevant: Ensure your goals align with your overall leadership aspirations and the needs of your organization.
  • Time-bound: Set a deadline for achieving each goal. This creates a sense of urgency and keeps you on track.

Step 3: Development Activities

Here’s the most interesting part. Where you choose the activities that will help you achieve your goals. Here are some useful tips:

  • Formal learning: Enroll in leadership development workshops, conferences, or online courses.
  • Mentorship: Find a seasoned leader who can provide guidance and support.
  • Coaching: Work with a leadership coach who can help you develop specific skills and overcome challenges.
  • Action learning: Participate in projects or initiatives that allow you to apply your learnings in a real-world setting.
  • Reading & Reflection: Dive into leadership books, articles, and blogs to gain new insights and perspectives.

Related: Taking Advantage: Strategies for Maximizing Market Trends

Planning for Action: Crucial elements and expert tips for your leadership development plan

Let’s explore some crucial elements for preparation and implementation. We’ll also incorporate valuable insights from leadership experts to guide you on your journey.

  • Align with organizational goals: Ensure your development goals are not just about you, but also contribute to the success of your organization. Talk to your manager or HR to understand the organization’s leadership needs and align your plan accordingly.
  • Prioritize and sequence: With a list of development activities, prioritize them based on urgency and importance. Sequence your activities in a logical order to create a clear learning pathway.
  • Identify resources: Be realistic about the resources you’ll need, such as time, budget, and access to training programs. Explore any resources offered by your organization, and be prepared to advocate for your development needs.
  • Seek support: Don’t do it alone! Inform your manager and key colleagues about your development plan. Their understanding and support will be crucial for your success.

Expert advice for implementing your leadership plan

  • Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, Leadership Consultant: “What got you here won’t get you there.” Be open to feedback and willing to adapt your leadership style as you grow.
  • Herminia Ibarra, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior: “Act your way into a new way of being.” Don’t just learn new skills, actively practice and implement them in your daily interactions.
  • Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric: “Change before you have to.” Don’t wait for a crisis to prompt your leadership development. Embrace continuous learning and improvement.
  • Simon Sinek, Author and Motivational Speaker: “Start with Why.” Connect your leadership development goals to your core values and purpose. This will provide deeper motivation and fuel your commitment to the plan

Empowering Your Growth: Resources and Tools for Aspiring Leaders

Your leadership development journey doesn’t end with crafting a plan. Here are some additional resources and tools to help keep you on track

  • Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • Harvard Business Review Leadership Articles

Leadership Podcasts

  • The Leadership Lab with Dr. Kevin Kruse
  • The Tim Ferriss Show
  • The Art of Charm

Your Leadership Development Scorecard

Congratulations on taking the first step towards becoming a more impactful leader! This scorecard will be your personal compass, helping you assess your readiness and commitment to crafting a powerful leadership development plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some SMART goals I can set for my leadership development?

Here are some examples of SMART goals you can set for yourself:
1. Improve my communication skills by learning to deliver more concise and impactful presentations within the next 3 months (measurable).
2. Become a more confident public speaker by enrolling in a public speaking course and delivering a presentation in front of my team by the end of the year (specific & time-bound).
3. Enhance my ability to delegate tasks effectively by attending a delegation workshop and implementing a new delegation system within my department in the next quarter (relevant & achievable).

How do I choose the right development activities for me?

Focus on activities that address your specific needs and learning style.

I don’t have a lot of time or budget for development activities. What can I do?

There are many free or low-cost resources available. Look for online articles, podcasts, or webinars on leadership development. Consider joining a leadership development forum or community to connect with other aspiring leaders for peer support and learning.

How important is it to have a plan and track my progress?

A well-defined plan keeps you focused and motivated. Tracking your progress allows you to celebrate your achievements and identify areas where you need to adjust your approach.


Developing your leadership skills is an ongoing journey of self-discovery, continuous learning, and growth. By taking ownership of your development, crafting a strategic plan, and leveraging the resources available, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with leadership. As you hone your skills and inspire those around you, you’ll leave a lasting positive impact on your organization and the world.


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