Leadership Development Action Plan Template

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This template is designed to guide your leadership development activities over the next 12-24 months. Many of the steps require significant effort and/or reflection. Very few require money. Most of these activities can be self-guided, but it would be very helpful to recruit a mentor to help you along the way.


Please resist the temptation to rush through the steps; the more effort you put into each of the activities below the more you will learn.


  1. Do a Self-Assessment: If you have used a self-assessment tool recently (e.g. StrengthsFinder, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or Kolb Learning Style Inventory), review your results.

    1. What strengths to you have that you would like to cultivate?

    2. What strengths do you have that you might be overusing?

  2. Create a Life Mission Statement: Your Life Mission Statement can provide insights about your motivation to lead and guide your development efforts in a direction congruent with your long-term goals.
    1. Life Mission Statement Worksheet

  3. Master Core Skills: Are there any core supervisory skills that you have not yet mastered (e.g. giving feedback, delegating, leading meetings, or hiring/firing)? If so, which would be the most useful to learn about and practice this year given the goals and challenges you have with your current team?

    1. When (and with whom) will you practice this skill in the coming month?

    2. Find resources for learning to give feedback, delegate, motivate, lead meetings, or hire/fire employees.

  4. Identify Exemplars: Choose two leaders to learn from, e.g. a famous leader and an effective leader you have worked with.

    1. What characteristics do you admire most about the leader with whom you have worked?

    2. Read a biography or watch a movie about a famous leader you admire.

  5. Find a Mentor: If your agency has a formal mentoring program, sign up for it. If your agency doesn't have a program--or if you already have a potential mentor in mind--reach out to a more senior officer who you think would be a good fit for you. Ask them if they would be willing to meet with you for a mentoring session. (At this stage they would not be commiting to a long-term mentoring relationship.)

    1. Before the first meeting develop a list of your objectives and questions you would like to ask.

    2. If there is chemistry between the two of you at that initial meeting, ask if they would be willing to mentor you while you work through this Leadership Development Action Plan.

  6. Seek Challenging and Varied Experiences: What kind of jobs/tasks do you have the least experience with?

    • __ Turnarounds
    • __ Start-Ups
    • __ Big Leaps in Scope/Scale
    • __ Projects/Task Forces
    • __ Switches between staffer and line manager
    • __ Managing in a Crisis

    1. Select one of these experience gaps and seek an opportunity to gain that experience.

    2. Suggested reading: "Making the Most of Developmental Assignments" and "Twenty-Two Ways to Develop Leadership in Staff Managers."

  7. Sign Up for Training: Investigate leadership training opportunities in your agency. If resources are available, sign up for an appropriate course.

    1. Find leadership programs for U.S. Federal Government Agencies or State Government.

  8. Seek Feedback: Develop a plan for seeking feedback from your subordinates (or peers if you are not a supervisor)

    1. Who will you ask?

    2. When do you plan to do it?

    3. Find resources for learning to receive constructive feedback.



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