Leadership Development Plan: Template and Example with Tips (2023)

After reading this guide, you will understand how to improve leadership training in your organization and get practical tips for creating a leadership development plan.


  • What is leadership development?
  • Why is leadership development important?
  • Goals of leadership development
  • Leadership development plan template
    1. Define what kind of leaders you need
    2. Align an employee's career vision with your business needs
    3. Make a list of leadership development goals and skills
    4. Identify the development methods to be used
    5. Measure and analyze program results

What is leadership development?

Development of leadership qualitiesIt is the process of improving leadership skills and competencies through various activities.

In leadership development, employees at all levels learn the invaluable leadership skills that enable them to properly lead, inspire and lead their teams to success.

This type of development is important to properly cultivate a leadership culture throughout the organization.

Leadership development training can take many forms, both on-site, such as B. internal training and mentoring programs, as well as external, such. B. Training seminars, conferences, online training courses or graduate programs.

For effective leadership development, an organization must create a leadership development plan.

This plan defines the steps the organization will take, what is expected of the team undergoing this evolution, and how the evolution will benefit both the organization and the team.

Why is leadership development important?

Leadership development benefits an organization in many ways.

1. Drives better business outcomes

Including greater financial performance and more consistent performance within departments led by competent leaders.

2. Qualified managers are more agile

A company with competent leaders can navigate in today's complex business environment and solve problems quickly and effectively.

3. Good leadership encourages innovation

A workforce of effective leaders is inspired to believe in and work toward a larger vision.

4. Qualified managers attract and retain employees

Good leadership can generate greater engagement from your team and reduce turnover. A great leader will attract talented new employees and be able to retain existing employees, leading to greater job satisfaction.

5. Improves employee engagement

More than half of American workers are not engaged at work. Effective leadership that knows how to increase team engagement through purpose and recognition has been shown to increase profitability within an organization.

6. Improves communication inside and outside the organization

Good communication can make or break a company. When a company's leaders prioritize effective communication, it leads to increased productivity, faster task completion and a more positive corporate culture.

7. Improves customer loyalty

Customers become more loyal when leaders engage employees effectively. Leading by example improves the customer experience.

8. Increases employee retention

Internal management development promotes employee loyalty by showing them that growth opportunities are open to them. It's also cheaper and takes less time than finding, hiring, and training outside leaders.

9. The right leadership development strategy feeds the business strategy

A properly designed leadership development strategy is an invaluable tool to drive and achieve the organization's business strategy. By taking the time to understand what your company expects from its leaders, you will better understand the business strategy that works best for you. These two strategies go hand in hand, developing one will help you achieve the other.

Regardless of the industry, any organization can benefit from developing leadership skills within their organization and prioritizing leadership in the corporate culture.

Goals of leadership development

For a leadership development program to be effective, clear goals must be defined early in the process. Any or all of the following destinations can be used as a starting point.

1. Demonstrate ownership

A true leader owns their actions and their consequences, good or bad.

They are able to observe the results of their decisions and appreciate the lessons that teach both success and failure.

Employees notice when a manager never takes responsibility for their actions or, worse, blames their failures on their subordinates.

2. Practice self-discipline

When making decisions, it can be tempting to make decisions that benefit the individual rather than the team or organization.

A good leader considers all options and chooses the one that is best for the company, not for themselves. This practice involves eliminating prejudice and developing integrity.

3. Develop active listening skills

Leading sometimes means listening instead of talking.

Each team member has valuable information and experience to share, and a good leader takes the time to create a space for discussion and to actively listen to each person.

4. Expand and diversify knowledge

Leaders need to be versatile and have a wide range of skills in different competency areas.

By taking the time to study areas that may be outside of their direct role, a leader is better able to deal with problems as they arise in a creative and agile manner.

5. Focus on time management

A leader won't do anyone much good if he's always late with projects and doesn't have enough time to really lead.

By focusing on proper time management, a leader can ensure they lead by example and are available to their team.

6. Creation of a mentoring culture

A key role of a leader is to foster leadership in others.

Being able to identify and develop these skills in team members is an important aspect of a leader's job and essential to developing a leadership culture within an organization.

It's about coachingProvide actionable and constructive feedbackand pay attention to how team members approach challenging projects.

7. Improving communication practices

A leader is only as effective as their communication.

Great ideas and active leadership won't get far if a leader's communication style fails them.

Developing communication skills takes time and effort and involves building a relationship with team members, understanding how and when to use persuasion, and improvingConflict Resolution Skills.

8. Practice general thinking

Managers must not think small. Troubleshooting and effective team management depend on a leader who can make decisions that benefit the team not only now, but well into the future.

Using these goals as a starting point helps an organization define what is important, what changes need to be prioritized, and what type of training is most effective in developing the leadership they want to see in their organization.

Leadership development plan template

So how do you improve leadership skills in your company? You need to start with a leadership development plan.

It is the roadmap for how your company will cultivate leadership in employees at all levels. It should include goals that align with both strategic business needs and interpersonal or more human needs.

It should meet the needs of leaders at all levels within the organization, both current leaders and those you wish to train for future leadership roles.

An example of a good leadership development plan is one that follows these steps:

1. Define what kind of leaders you need

First, you need to understand what kind of leader you need, what skills are most important to your business and will be valuable in the future.

The best way to do that is to step back and review your key business goals. If you don't have a clear list, it's time to do so.


  • Make a list of skills you want in a good leader that fits your organization. It has to be tailored to your business.
  • If you have another department that needs leadership improvements, create a separate profile for them.
  • Assess where your lead is. Create a leadership review for your employees. Using a variety of methods, including anonymous, email, and in-person feedback, your organization can develop a clear understanding of where leadership currently stands.
  • Also, it can be good to have a list of employees who show an interest in leadership roles and are talented enough to take on leadership roles.

2. Align an employee's career vision with their business needs

Talk to the employees who will be participating in this leadership development and try to align their vision and career path with your ideas and business path.

The same direction of development will drastically affect the final results.


  • Of course, it is easier to develop a leadership culture with committed employees who have a positive attitude towards the organization. So sometimes it's better not to focus on the people who are about to leave the company.
  • One-to-one conversations are the most useful tool to find out what your employee's career vision is. Make time to meet with staff regularly to ensure the two paths are aligned.
  • Be willing to listen to your employees' ideas, which is required in both leadership development and business strategy. You may receive unexpected information about your organization and ideas for the future.

3. Make a list of leadership development goals and skills

As discussed above, leadership development goals are an important part of this strategy. Without clear goals, it will be difficult to understand what to do and how effective your plan is.

The qualities and skills required of the leadership of your organization determine the relevant leadership development goals.


  • These goals must be achievable, measurable and correlated with key business goals.
  • just lookleadership skills, can help you.
  • Make a list of the goals and skills required for each person or role.
  • Rank their importance so people can focus on the goals that are most valuable or important to them.
  • Set a clear timeline for each goal to motivate people to take action.
  • Be clear about what the success of each goal looks like. The clearer this list is, the more successfully employees will achieve their goals.
  • Look for examples of success in your organization. It is better to show than to tell.

4. Identify the development methods to be used and create a development plan

There are many different methods that can be used for leadership development:

  • Mentoring-Programme,
  • formal education,
  • Voluntary work,
  • emergency services,
  • working groups and committees,
  • changes the way responsibility is taken,
  • and other.

You can read more about itIdeas for developing leadership skillsin this employee development article.

Some companies develop these methods in-house, while others use a third-party company that specializes in this type of development. You have the choice.


  • We recommend creating a separate leadership development plan for each role or person. This makes it more personable and role-centric, and as a result, it becomes a lot more engaging and relevant.
  • Focus on the methods that are right for you, some are expensive while others require experience.
  • think of themrealization phase.

5. Measure and analyze program results

As already mentioned, the development plan must be measurable, otherwise its success cannot be quantified.

By using measurable goals, concrete criteria, employee feedback and data, your organization is able to measure program success and make adjustments as needed.
Get more ideas fromChapter of this article on employee development.


  • Set deadlines and review results frequently.
  • Communicate with employees, their feedback will be very important.
  • Go back to the plan and adjust it if necessary.

With these steps, your organization can create a template leadership development plan for you to follow. In this way, a culture of leadership and positive development will be established, and positive results will follow.


What does a leadership development plan look like? ›

A leadership development plan is a strategic plan designed to help employees gain and develop leadership competencies and prepare them for management and leadership roles within an organization. This plan is usually structured, long-term and personalized for the unique needs of an employee and the organization.

What are the 4 P's of leadership? ›

This experience enabled us to identify four key elements that seem to improve the odds of leadership success—what we call “four Ps”: perception, process, people, and projection.

What should a good development plan include? ›

A professional development plan documents the goals, required skill and competency development, and objectives a staff member will need to accomplish in order to support continuous improvement and career development.

What are the 5 smart goals examples? ›

5. SMART goal example for increasing sales
  • Specific: I will learn new sales techniques to increase sales at work.
  • Measurable: My goal is to double my sales in four months.
  • Attainable: I've been a sales associate for two years now. ...
  • Relevant: I want to feel more confident at my job and learn new skills.
Aug 5, 2022

What are the three 3 main ideal leadership qualities? ›

The three traits that are discussed here are character, vision, and relationship effectiveness. It needs to be mentioned that these three are not the only traits but more like these traits are essential to leadership. In other words, these traits are necessary but not exhaustive.

What is development plan write in your own words? ›

The Development Plan is a document which provides planners with guidelines to follow during the development assessment process. Each Council area has a Development Plan that relates specifically to that area.

What is the 70 20 10 rule in leadership development? ›

But one concept that has stood the test of time is the 70-20-10 leadership development model. As the 70-20-10 name implies, the learning model calls for 70 percent of development to consist of on-the-job learning, supported by 20 percent coaching and mentoring, and 10 percent classroom training.

What are some examples of development? ›

Examples of areas of development for employees
  • Goal-setting.
  • Communication.
  • Collaboration.
  • Listening.
  • Conflict resolution.
  • Adaptability.
  • Organization.
  • Accepting constructive feedback.
Dec 12, 2019

What is your professional development plan best answer? ›

Mention what you hope to do in the immediate future to grow professionally and advance your skill set, which can include working in the position for which you're interviewing. From here, detail your long-term aspirations and motivations for achieving such objectives.

What are the 8 essentials in leadership? ›

I've distilled my conversation with Wang to eight of the most essential qualities that make a great leader.
  • Sincere enthusiasm. True enthusiasm for a business, its products, and its mission cannot be faked. ...
  • Integrity. ...
  • Great communication skills. ...
  • Loyalty. ...
  • Decisiveness. ...
  • Managerial competence. ...
  • Empowerment. ...
  • Charisma.
Feb 8, 2018

What is a positive leadership style? ›

Positive leadership is modeling, facilitating, and purposefully influencing positive emotions that encourage team members and employees to excel in their work. Positive leaders cultivate an empowering environment through communication, accountability, emotional intelligence, motivation, and model-worthy work ethic.

What is the best leadership quality? ›

Good leaders possess self-awareness, garner credibility, focus on relationship-building, have a bias for action, exhibit humility, empower others, stay authentic, present themselves as constant and consistent, become role models and are fully present.

What are the 5 major aspects of development? ›

The Five Areas of Development is a holistic approach to learning for Cerebral, Emotional, Physical, Social and Spiritual development.

What are the 3 most important areas of development for you professionally? ›

7 Key employee development areas
  • Flexibility.
  • Communication skills.
  • Bonus: Conflict Resolution, Tactfulness, Work ethic.
  • Leadership Skills.
  • Organizational Skills.
  • Creativity Skills.
  • Bonus: Stress Management.
Dec 30, 2021

What are the 3 main objectives of development? ›

There are three core values of development: (i) sustenance, (ii) self- esteem, and (iii) freedom.

What are the 3 types of goals examples? ›

There are three types of goals- process, performance, and outcome goals.
  • Process goals are specific actions or 'processes' of performing. For example, aiming to study for 2 hours after dinner every day . ...
  • Performance goals are based on personal standard. ...
  • Outcome goals are based on winning.

What are good goals examples? ›

27 More Examples of Personal Goals
  • Find a career that you love.
  • Find a life partner.
  • Become an expert or leader in your field.
  • Go for a walk every day.
  • Become a better listener.
  • Buy your first home.
  • Save X number of dollars for retirement.
  • Give back to your community in ways that matter to you.

What are the 5 D's of goal setting? ›

They are Determination, Dedication, Discipline, Diversity and Direction. What does that mean?

What are the 6 C's of leadership? ›

The 6 c's of inclusive leadership are:
  • Communication. Leaders need to be able to communicate with people from all walks of life. ...
  • Collaboration. Leaders need to be able to work with people from all walks of life. ...
  • Creative problem solving. ...
  • Commitment. ...
  • Courage. ...
  • Cultural competence.

What are the 7 techniques for good leadership? ›

7 Effective Skills to Help You Become a Better Leader
  • Interpersonal Communication. As a leader, communication skills are essential. ...
  • Active Listening. Another communication skill every leader should embrace is active listening. ...
  • Goal-Setting. ...
  • Diplomacy. ...
  • Conflict Resolution. ...
  • Motivation. ...
  • Decisiveness.

What are the six E's of leadership? ›

That's the six E's of leadership: Envision, Enlist, Embody, Empower, Evaluate, Encourage.

What are the 3 C's of leadership? ›

My training and experiences in the Army provided valuable insights into the principles and guidance into the makings of a true leader, none more impressive than the three Cs: competence, commitment and character. It may seem self-evident, but leaders must be competent — that's a non-negotiable.

What are four 4 key qualities of an effective leader? ›

Effective leaders are competent, skilled, secure, and considerate. These leaders find time for everyone; they are genuine and authentic in their communications and actions.

What are five 5 characteristics of effective leadership? ›

In particular, empathy, communication, decision-making, resilience, and delegation constitute the 5 characteristics of a good leader in today's business environment.

What are the 6 P's of leadership? ›

He explains how he has used a 6P model to diagnose and respond to the challenges he has encountered, encompassing purpose, patients, people, processes, partners and politics. Readers are encouraged to use the framework and learning from it to inform their own leadership journeys.


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