Leadership Development Action Plan Template
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.
- 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.
- What strengths to you have that you would like to cultivate?
- What strengths do you have that you might be overusing?
- 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.
- 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?
- When (and with whom) will you practice this skill in the coming month?
- Find resources for learning to give feedback, delegate, motivate, lead meetings, or hire/fire employees.
- Identify Exemplars: Choose two leaders to learn from, e.g. a famous leader and an effective leader you have worked with.
- What characteristics do you admire most about the leader with whom you have worked?
- Read a biography or watch a movie about a famous leader you admire.
- 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.)
- Before the first meeting develop a list of your objectives and questions you would like to ask.
- 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.
- 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
- Select one of these experience gaps and seek an opportunity to gain that experience.
- Suggested reading: "Making the Most of Developmental Assignments" and "Twenty-Two Ways to Develop Leadership in Staff Managers."
- Who will you ask?
- When do you plan to do it?
- Find resources for learning to receive constructive feedback.
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