Leadership Development Plan, Successful leaders understand the need to develop professionally throughout their careers. Whether a leader oversees a small team or supports and guides large groups of people, making a plan for further development is one of the most effective ways to become a better leader.
If you want to know what a leadership action plan can do to support your development as an influential and motivating leader, there are several things to consider. In this article, we’ll explore what a leadership action plan is, why it’s important to create a plan for your leadership development, and how to make one with an example to give you an idea of how a leadership action plan can support leadership development achievement of its objectives.
What is a leadership action plan?
A leadership action plan is an outline detailing how you plan to move into leadership roles in your career. It is an outline that can help guide your career development and professional growth, and a leadership action plan can include several key elements:
- The global vision you have of your career
- Your long-term career goals
- Your short-term development goals
- A list of steps to follow
- An evaluation and self-assessment method
Why is a leadership action plan important?
A leadership action plan is important for understanding your strengths and weaknesses so you can set goals for improvement and take steps to become a stronger, more effective leader. Essentially, your leadership action plan is an insightful way to plan how you will act to develop the skills necessary to take on higher-level roles in the workplace and advance your career. Here are other reasons to consider developing a leadership action plan:
- Supports measuring and tracking progress
- Encourages self-reflection and evaluation
- Provides an easy way to set career goals and objectives
- Set a timeline to achieve milestones in your career
- Outlines steps to follow for professional development
How to create an action plan to be a better leader
The following steps provide an outline for creating your own leadership action plan, which you can use to guide your journey toward becoming a highly effective leader:
1. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses
Make a list of the strengths and weaknesses you think you have as a leader. For example, two strengths effective boss vs leaders can have are the ability to inspire others and to support complex team projects. So they could include delegation and motivation in a list of professional strengths. A professional weakness can include areas of your skill development that you want to improve, develop, or even learn for the first time.
For example, your company may require a graduate degree for a specific position you want to advance to, and you haven’t earned your graduate degree yet. A professional weakness, in this case, is that you don’t have the credentials yet. Your list of leadership weaknesses can be a great starting point for your action plan because these areas are the skills and talents you need to focus on throughout your career development.
2. Create your mission and set your goals
Use your list of professional strengths and weaknesses to set one or two goals that support improvements in your weakest areas of leadership. Also, consider your mission as a leader. For example, if your goals are to earn a higher degree or credential so you can increase your leadership opportunities, create a mission statement that reflects why others would want to follow you once you achieve your goals. Several questions you can ask to brainstorm your purpose and create a mission statement that reflects the goals you want to achieve are:
- Why do you want to improve your leadership skills?
- Why do you need to achieve your goals?
- How does achieving your goal contribute to the overall success of your team and your company?
- These types of questions can give your insight into your purpose and the career goals you need to achieve to fulfill your purpose.
3. Set a calendar with measurable actions
Break each goal into smaller milestones that describe the steps you need to take. Next, set a timetable for reaching each goal. For example, if your leadership goals are to be more motivating and influential within larger teams, you could break this goal down into short-term goals, such as completing a six-week leadership development course and participating in training leadership on certain dates. Setting a timetable for achieving your goals can help you stay motivated to achieve meaningful goals in your leadership development.
4. Track and evaluate your progress
Plan to measure your progress regularly so you can see how you’re progressing toward each of your short-term goals and your overall career goals. Performing regular self-assessments allows you to identify where you need to make adjustments in your leadership action plan, such as rearranging your schedule, applying new development strategies, or changing your approaches to reach your goals. Write down some notes on your progress, where you can assess the areas where you are improving and the skill sets you still need to develop.
5. Adjust your action plan as needed
Stay flexible and open to change in case you encounter obstacles during your leadership development. For example, let’s say you want to take a short course on emerging software development concepts to better manage your development team. However, the course is full for the next two terms. This means that you will need to adjust your schedule to account for the delay in achieving this short-term goal.