Great leadership is a discipline that requires lifelong study and self-reflection. There are a lot of leadership concepts to explore and it’s hard to decide what to study next. Today we’re going to help you build the outline of a Leadership Development Plan. This plan will be your roadmap that guides you through developing your skills and leadership style.
The Leadership Development Plan highlights the kind of leader you want to be and assesses how you’re doing on that path. It also documents concrete action steps you are going to take to get there and when. We’re going to draw on some of the work we’ve done in other posts, so if you’d like to check them out before going forward you can find them below.
Building Your Leadership Development Plan
First, break your goals down into near, mid and long-term time frames. I like to use the time frames of right now to 2 years from now as short-term, 2 to 5 years as mid-term and 5 to 10 years as long-term, but you can choose whatever time frames suit you best. Include your personal goals on this plan as well. Including goals you have about family, community or even great life experiences will help get your whole life organized.
Next, we have to determine the traits and skills we’ll need to have to make those goals a reality. Some of the skills we need for long-term goals may also be beneficial in our near and mid-term goals as well so we should list them accordingly. Fill in the traits and skills you feel you need to achieve every goal in all 3 categories.
Self-Assessment and Action Steps
Now comes the really tough part, doing honest self assessment about the traits and skills we feel like we need to have to achieve our goals. Sometimes we are too hard or too soft on ourselves when it comes to these kinds of assessments. If you have a hard time objectively assessing the areas that you’re really great in and the areas you could use some work in, ask a friend or trusted colleague to give you their opinion.
Once you have a good idea of the traits and skills you need to work on, we need to write down concrete steps we can take to build them. Keep adding specific action steps for every area you feel like you need to work on. Don’t forget to include dates that you want to complete these steps by.
Now you should have a few pages worth of well-defined actions you can take that will build on each other to get you all the skills and experience you need to achieve your goals and become the kind of leader you want to be.
Using Your Roadmap
Treat you Leadership Development Plan as a roadmap, rather than a strict list to do in an exact order. If you want to learn one of the skills in your plan a little earlier than you planned, go ahead and do it. Just like you can change the order of destinations on a road trip, you can adjust your plan. Also, don’t be afraid to take a detour off your original roadmap if an interesting opportunity comes up. Add that new destination to your map and broaden your horizons!