How to Create a Leadership Development Plan

Alan Melton

When you have a small business, you want to ensure that you strive to keep all your leaders and managers happy. So, you want to provide them a chance to grow inside your business. You want to ensure that they know you appreciate their work and that they are valued team members. This usually results in a long-term commitment with a profit-sharing plan for committed team members. Looking at the 5 Steps to Freedom, you will need a well-developed Leadership Development Plan to get to the Freedom Step.

So, do you already have a leadership development plan in place? In case you don’t, you absolutely want to have one. After all, you don’t want your leaders and managers to leave your business because they feel they are not valued or they are not happy with their current development and compensation.

One of the reasons why many small businesses still don’t have a leadership business plan in place is because business owners don’t see any reasons for it. However, you will probably change your mind when you find out what a leadership development plan can help you achieve.

When you have a detailed leadership development plan in place in your small business, you can expect to achieve:

  • Better employee loyalty and retention
  • More employee empowerment and involvement
  • More interesting challenges and opportunities
  • More time off and business freedom for you
  • More business value for you

While we tend to think that leaders develop based on the experience they have, you know that all leaders need a plan to follow. However, this plan needs to be well-thought. When it isn’t, you may be creating high expectations among leaders that just can’t be fulfilled.

How To Create A Leadership Development Plan

The truth is that creating a leadership development plan is not as easy as you may think. After all, it needs to be focused, meaningful, and compelling. Besides, it also needs to be dynamic. The reality is that we just can’t ignore the fact that businesses change over time and leaders are faced with new challenges.

One of the things that we see many small businesses owners doing with leadership development plans is that they write down vague development strategies. However, in such a plan, you need focus.

Both shareholders and executives need to pay attention to emerging leaders and managers as they are developing. So, how can they do that?

Here are 6 guidelines that will allow you to create an effective leadership development plan:

#1 Less Is More:

Instead of focusing on your entire business, select just one or two (at most) development areas. As goals are accomplished by the leaders, add new goals.

#2: Using SMART Guidelines:

SMART – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely – guidelines are crucial when you are establishing the goals. After all, the only way that you have to evaluate a leader is by using real metrics along with qualitative indicators.

#3: Connect Activities To The Needs Of The Individual, Team, And Organization:

All leadership development plans need to clearly express how the individuals, teams, and organization will benefit from a better leadership capacity. As you know, the way the leader acts has a direct impact on the entire organization. So, you need to ensure that you pay closer attention to the link between the leadership and the effectiveness. This plan needs to flow from your Strategic Plan.

#4: Determine The Strengths:

All leaders have different strengths. So, it is important to determine the strength of the leader in your organization so that you can leverage it. This way, you will be maximizing the leader’s performance and potential. One of the things that can happen, even with the best leaders, is that they don’t use their full strengths or they simply minimize them.

#5: Keep Checking The Plan:

A leadership development plan is always changing. Like your strategic plan, it is the kind of plan that shouldn’t remain on the shelf. Instead, you should revisit it at least, on a quarterly basis. The key is deployment. Take the time to review the strategies and revise them according to the new business conditions and monitor the progress against the goals. Ultimately, you need to make all the necessary changes to ensure that the leadership development plan will not only drive short-term results as it will also provide long-term learning.

#6: Support And Challenge Equilibrium:

It is important that you find a balance between support and challenge. You need to make sure that your leader has enough support from the manager, from his peers, and all the resources he needs that allow him to take on more challenges. For another blog post on developing leaders, here’s one on 10 Ways to Grow Yourself So You Can Grow Your Business.

  • Do you have a leadership development plan? Answer yes or no in the comments below.
  • If yes, what are some leadership development practices that have worked well for you?

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