Leadership Development Planning: A Guide for Managers

Human resources personnel must be proactive with leadership development planning to help improve the skills of employees within the workplace. This type of planning requires you to communicate with all departments to find out the ideal way to implement training programs based on their schedule. However, you’ll need to consider the current status of the employee, and if they’re planning to have longevity at your company. 


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Right from the start: Leadership development planning

Leadership development planning contains a document that projects the growth of an employee. It’s considered an agreement between the company and the employee regarding the needs of improvement in a certain area. For example, it can be related to a specific skill or a performance benchmark. You must understand the requirements of each job within the company and build a relationship with department managers to create an effective leadership development plan.

Read more: How to Find Good Employees


Ways to make leadership development plans

You have multiple options about the ways you can create your leadership development plans. Some of these options include: 

  • Building an employee’s career vision
  • Creating clear goals and a timeline for completion 
  • Generating action steps that monitor the employee’s progress 
  • Producing an assessment and evaluation for the plan


Building an employee’s career vision

The employee’s career vision establishes what they see themselves doing throughout their career. You’ll need to factor in the achievements the employee has accomplished up to this point. Also, you must speak with their manager about if their contributions match the way they want to grow and develop in the workplace. 


You should ask the employee to write down their strengths and weaknesses to give you a better idea of how you can structure your leadership development plan. They’ll need to include their skills and competencies as well. 


Creating clear goals and a timeline for completion 

Make sure that you and the employee understand the goals set forth before you agree to them. This way, it can motivate the employee to think about long-term goals that complement the one you agreed upon. You should get their manager’s approval on these goals, so they can report their progress of the skills or performance they’re helping them with. 


Generating action steps that monitor the employee’s progress 

Review the different steps the employee should take to achieve their goals. These steps should be measured realistically, but you’ll need to space out these steps over a specified period so they can spend time working on their career vision.


Ideally, you should agree on daily, weekly and monthly targets that can be evaluated by yourself and their manager. Once the employee agrees to the goals you set for them, try to estimate a cost for the steps you’re taking to train this employee. You can use this estimate as a tool to see if this plan is within budget. 


Producing an assessment and evaluation for the plan

The assessment and the evaluation process ensure the relevance of the leadership development plan. The purpose is to have a procedure to give feedback and make adjustments to the plan when necessary. You and the employee should be flexible if you’re establishing a timeline, if a pressing deadline occurs or if they decide to change their career vision. 


Leadership development plan example

A leadership development plan can be created for an employee within the organization. Here’s an example of a leadership development plan for a marketing manager position: 


Name: Miranda Joseph 

Position: Marketing Manager 

Company: Death Valley Credit Union 

Plan period: January 2, 2020, to January 2, 2021 

Development focus: Recently promoted, serving in a new position


Top Three Employee Strengths:

  • Social media reporting 
  • Lead generation 
  • Content curation

Top Three Employee Development Needs:

  • Leading a team with a coordinator, assistant and an intern 
  • Conflict resolution 
  • Interpersonal skills  

Development Step 1: Collaborate with the marketing coordinator, assistant and intern to work on their leadership development plans. Approach this step in a coaching style while practicing your interpersonal skills. 

Timeline: Begin this week and speak with one employee per week up until the end of January.

Estimated cost: No monetary cost at this time.


Development Step 2: Speak with Marie Parker, the human resources manager on my leadership development plan, and receive guidance on how to coach my team. 

Timeline: Begin working with Marie this week and ask for advice when necessary.

Estimated cost: No monetary cost at this time.


Development Step 3: Read the novel “Essentials of Marketing Management” once I get it from Justin Myers, the marketing director. Write down one way you’ve applied a concept from the book and meet with Justin to get feedback on my progress. 

Timeline: Over the next four months.

Estimated cost: $15.99 for the book.


Leadership development planning FAQs

Review some FAQs that can help you answer further questions you may have about leadership development plans: 


How would you describe a leadership development plan?

A leadership development plan details the projected growth of each employee within an organization. They can be instituted to improve a certain skill or the performance of an employee. The amount of detail that they have depends on the person you’re evaluating and the position they currently hold. 


Can I assign a leadership development plan for all employees? 

Yes, all employees can be assigned a leadership development plan. This includes the CEO down to interns in the same company. It’s encouraged for all members to have these plans, so employees can share their stories about the progress of their growth in addition to their goals. 


Is a leadership development plan a substitute for a performance review? 

A leadership development plan should be treated separately from a performance review since it solely focuses on areas of improvement. A performance review monitors an employee’s progress on tasks directly tied with the responsibilities of their current role. 


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