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Consultant Proficiency Resources: Importance of Leadership Development Plan



Today's post underscores the importance of a Leadership Development Plan (LDP). An LDP outlines the steps you intend to take to be a better leader. A plan should include skills you need to improve, responsibilities you want, and tasks you hope to complete. For example, if you've accepted the CPR Moral Leadership challenge, you will extract data you identified from episodes #1 and #2 under the weakness or threat SWOT diagram.


Many leadership development plans serve as agreements between an employer and an employee. In these cases, the plan has benefits that extend beyond the individual. When leadership development is aligned with business strategy, organizations can link their investments in supporting potential leaders—starting with personal and professional development such as CPR Moral Leadership coaching. Before implementing your LDP, conduct a self-assessment. Please incorporate the steps recommended by CPR in its CPR Moral Leadership Coaching tidbit on youtube. The link is below:


A. Elements of a Development Plan

After thinking about your long-term leadership goals and the qualities you’d like to improve, it’s time to create your leadership development plan. Since the document is personal, it should take on the style and format that works best for how you take in information. Some people may use a spreadsheet; others may prefer a chart. No matter the format, there are several vital things that every leadership development plan should include:

1. Core Skills to Master

Leaders have several job responsibilities that are specific to a role as a supervisor. These can include running meetings, providing feedback, sharing information in front of groups, and making personnel decisions. Identify the skills that align with your leadership development goals but are not part of your job responsibilities. If someone you currently work with has these skills, ask if you can shadow them or practice with them. If not, look for external resources to help you build these skills.

2. Experience Gaps to Close

In addition to tactical skills, there are several strategic responsibilities that a leader can expect to take on. These can include starting a new project, turning around a project that is not going well, managing more significant and mission-critical projects, and managing in a crisis. As with building skills, it’s essential to identify these critical tasks that align with your goals and develop a plan to gain the necessary experience.

3. New Relationships to Build

As a leader, you interact with a variety of stakeholders regularly. Many are within your organization, including department heads, front-line employees, and managers with different skill sets but similar tenure. Others are outside your organization and range from customers and suppliers to board members and other business community members. As you build a leadership development plan, identify the stakeholders with whom you’d like to have a more robust, mutually beneficial relationship and reach out to start the conversation.

4. Specific Tasks to Delegate

Effective leaders strike a balance between day-to-day tasks and long-term responsibilities. They focus on the work most closely aligned with their expertise and trust others within the organization, ensuring that projects are not delayed and that employees remain engaged. List the activities critical to professional development within your role, along with the activities that others can complete themselves.

5. Key Action Items to Complete

As noted, the specifics of a leadership development plan should include strengths and potential areas of improvement. For each area where you see the potential to improve, include an action item, the timeframe in which you want to complete the task, and the cost (in time and money). Action items could include meeting with a mentor or manager, reading a book on leadership, completing a leadership assessment, or identifying training or educational opportunities.

6. Critical Indicators of Success

Leaders are assessed not only on their success but also on the success of their teams. Your LDP should list the critical indicators of success for leaders and their teams, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Improving the quality of work

  • Improving teamwork and morale

  • Increasing delegation of responsibility

  • Strategic planning and preparation

  • Continuous learning for you and your team

  • Recognizing the team’s contributions

B-Beyond the Plan: Building Leadership Development into Your Leadership Role

An LDP should be a living document. Therefore, it would be best to revisit it regularly to ensure that you are addressing the areas of improvement that you identified for yourself and meeting the timelines you set for taking on new responsibilities, building new skills, and so on.

Accomplishing the goals that you lay out in your plan should not require wholesale changes to how you work or learn. After all, the plan is meant to help you continue to grow, not start over completely. However, there are a few activities that you can add to your routine to support your development as a leader.

  • Seek feedback. Talk to your team and peers about how well you are growing as a leader and where you can continue improving about how well you are growing as a leader and where you can continue to make improvements. It’s also important to seek feedback from groups you don’t typically interact with, whether they be other divisions within your organization or third-party partners. These groups will provide different insight than those who work with you regularly.

  • Take time to reflect. Leaders have a great deal of responsibility to juggle. Take 15 minutes every morning to assess the most critical tasks for the day and 15 minutes in the evening to reflect on what went well and what could have been improved. Consider writing your thoughts in a journal, focusing on lessons or insights you have gained from your experience.

  • Find a mentor. Whether as a source of advice or a connection to networking opportunities, mentors are critical to personal leadership development. It’s essential to find a mentor who will be available for regular meetings and provide honest feedback—someone who always tells you what you want to hear may inadvertently hinder your growth. Your mentor could be a manager at your current job, a manager from a previous job, a professor, or a respected figure from your personal life.

  • Sign up for training. Continued education provides a valuable opportunity to nurture leadership skills. In addition to resources such as books, networking events, and leadership retreats, consider earning a bachelor’s degree to hone a wide range of skills—including psychology, writing, negotiation, finance, ethical decision-making, logic, and organizational behavior.

Understanding your LDP should assist you on your transformational journey. If you have not started, there is no time than the present. Your decision commences with a single, tiny seed. So be sure to do the work.


Warm Regards,


CeeCee


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