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Leaders make things happen.

They make smart decisions, communicate direction, drive strategic growth. Cultivate camaraderie. Help everyone to achieve their ambitions. They’re trusted. Respected. Influential.

Some of us are born to be leaders. Others have responsibility thrust on them.

Then there’s people who mature into leadership. They develop over a period of months, years, decades, becoming a person who everyone trusts, who commands authority. Who gets things done!

The best leaders are well-liked, capable. They have integrity, empathy. They’re agile, not afraid to give praise. They show gratitude. Make everyone around them better. They improve all levels of an organisation.

Find a leader with masterful people skills and exemplary technical knowledge and you’re onto a winner.

Having trouble finding someone to fit the bill? It may be time to develop leaders yourself. 👇

What Is a Leadership Development Plan?

Most of us know, or at least can accurately guess, what a leadership development plan is. But for the sake of simplicity, let us outline what one is.

In a nutshell…

A leadership development plan is a scalable list of objectives, some small, some large, which if completed, give people within an organisation the opportunity to become more than they were before. To learn or hone essential skills needed to thrive. To become highly valued within the organisation.

Perfect for anyone with ambitions to climb the corporate ladder or those people in middle management roles, leadership development plans will include a roadmap, actionable insights and a mixture of goals for professional individual development and ongoing commercial prowess.

Often formal classroom-style training is combined with self-learning. Personal coaching is combined with actions like journaling, tasks are set, constructive feedback given, mentoring emphasised.

Leadership development plans are a way for organisations to leverage a learning platform with one-to-one tutelage to upskill existing employees, addressing any leadership gaps that appear when people leave or retire.

But why such an emphasis on creating a solid Leadership Development Plan? Research has found that:

👉 77% of organisations suffer from a lack of leaders
👉 89% of executives believe strengthening organisational leadership to be a top priority in 2024

What’s more vital to organisations is that research has also found that 81% of people recently upskilled to managerial roles are more engaged in their jobs. Which leads us nicely onto the other benefits of a leadership development plan…

The Benefits of a Leadership Development Plan

if you want a happier, more productive workplace, one where people feel valued and motivated, a great way to do this is to have dedicated leadership development plans.

Think how much more efficient, prosperous, stressless, organised and fulfilling your workplace could be. How much everyone in the organisation can grow, professionally and even personally. The qualities each individual could exude. The achievements waiting for them. The success this will bring your business.

Below is a list of qualities to benefit individuals and organisations when they choose to undertake a leadership development plan.

Getting More Done

Experienced leaders know how to get things done, meet deadlines and achieve success. They also know how to motivate different personalities, both individually and in a team environment. 🔥

For example, introverts will excel alone or in a small group. Extroverts are better suited to working in a group where they can inspire confidence and foster teamwork. Leaders who understand people will get more done.

Retaining Top Talent

A successful organisation isn’t just one that attracts the best-suited candidates. It’s one that keeps hold of them. Individuals working under poor leadership have a harder time staying motivated. Don’t believe us? According to an online statistic…69% of respondents admitted they’d work harder if they were more appreciated. 🤯

Strong Leadership Keeps Individuals Engaged

Whether you’ve been tasked with motivating hundreds of people or are a training manager responsible for getting the organisation up to speed with a retail LMS, if you engage, motivate and reward people, they’ll stay put.

Having a Well-Rounded Group of Personalities

If prompting from within an organisation, it can be tempting to give the top job to whoever shouts the loudest. The dominant personality. But that doesn’t mean that they’re the best choice.

A successful leadership development plan is one with a balance of personalities. 🤔

One that nurtures promising individuals of varied characteristics until the time comes that they’re capable of leading. Some people maybe more technical. Detail oriented. Others focused on customer communication and sales growth. Get these personalities working together and you’ll have a formidable team.

A Tailored Leadership Plan

There’s no one-size fits all leadership plan. Of course, objectives may overlap, but individuals rarely do. Designing a leadership plan tailored to individuals, their experience, skillset, responsibilities, career progression, personality and the value they bring to the organisation is the only way to see each person, each team and the organisation as a whole prosper.

Give someone an individual, clearly-defined direction, one that accounts for their role, their value, their personality and you’ll motivate them. Partner this with the capabilities of a learning platform and you’ll be onto a winner! 😃

Collaboration and Better Decision-Making

Two heads are better than one. This saying can be traced back thousands of years in the past and explains that working together is better than working alone.

Good leaders foster teamwork, giving everyone the chance to voice their opinion and work together to come up with the best solution. Build this ethos into a leadership plan and you’ll benefit from the knowledge, expertise and ethos or a group, all with the same purpose – to be the best that they can be. 🙌

Creating a Leadership Plan

In a survey found on Harvard Business School’s website completed by global research advisory firm Gartner…👉60% of HR executives will be focusing on cultivating leader and manager effectiveness in 2023.

The aim is to nurture the professional development of potential leaders by cultivating specific leadership qualities such as authenticity, empathy and adaptiveness.

Creating a leadership plan is essential to staying ahead of the curve in a competitive, fluid commercial and recruitment market.

Now, this may sound a mite indistinct, so let’s get down to brass tax, the nitty gritty. What do you need to do to create a stellar leadership plan?

Define Your Leadership Goals

Clear, well-defined leadership goals promote a productive, happier workplace – one that reflects your company vision. Leadership is more than telling people what you want them to do and making sure it’s done. It’s the examples senior members of staff set, professional development, encouraging productivity and contentment, being sure to promote the company vision and more.

How to define your leadership goals is entirely up to you. It’s determined by how you manage and interact with individuals on a day-to-day basis.

To define your leadership goals, take some time to appraise your strengths and weaknesses. Identify what you want to improve and, hey presto, you have a leadership goal.

Remember, all goals should reflect the SMART criteria – goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. 🙂

But how does this work in practice? By following the below.

Know What’s Working Well and Where Could Improvements Be Made

First, take a step back and consider the type of leadership that’ll drive your organisation forward. Most organisations will have departments that are fully optimised, that work like a well-oiled machine from the management down, and other departments that could be improved.

Whether it’s leveraging the latest technology, like a retail LMS to streamlining goals, even identifying the type of leader and management style, identifying areas of improvement is the cornerstone of creating a leadership plan.

Get People’s Input

Remember people have different perspectives. 🤔

Someone working in accounts may have an entirely different viewpoint from someone working in sales. It’s all down to differences in our personalities, experiences, and priorities.

Successful organisations turn these differences into strengths. They ask for everyone’s opinion and encourage them to be candid. Is there a better way of learning what type of person is a good leader or which processes are working and which aren’t? Maybe not.

When all’s said and done, if you want to garner a well-rounded opinion of which type of leadership will succeed in your business, unleash the power of people. Ask questions. Listen to answers.

Decide the Best Training and Development

There’s a choice of strategies to employ to cultivate leadership. Some businesses choose to adopt a mentoring approach to training and development, where a supervisor is assigned to a single person or small group to help them develop. Other businesses focus on group training and development, either in-person or online. This is the better option for larger businesses with clear budgets and or carefully allocated resources.

However, what must never be forgotten is that strong leadership is paramount at all levels of the organisation. Employ or upskill individuals with leadership qualities and you’ll have a team capable of making decisions, achieving goals, who add great value to the business.

Set Clear Goals

Be sure to develop a leadership development plan. This should include clear goals, both short and long-term and a roadmap to achieve them. A skills platform is a great way to help monitor and scale employee goals and develop as leaders. 🙂

Always Measure Success

Optimise your leadership development plan by identifying successes and building on them. Some individuals are excellent motivators, others find workplace agility a piece of cake. Some individuals can delegate effectively, others promote integrity.

The key to cultivating a well-rounded leader is to promote and build upon existing skills whilst developing new ones. This is only done by measuring success. 🚀

This could be output, revenue increase or decrease, departmental happiness, or any specific parameters.

Decide the best means of measurement. Monitor. Adapt. Evolve.

Create a Great Leadership Plan This Year and Your Business Will Soar

There has never been a better time to create or hone your leadership plan. To do this you’ll need to follow these steps:

  • Define the type of leaders you need
  • Align employees’ career vision with that of your business
  • Decide the best ways of implementing your leadership plan
  • Clearly define short and long-term goals
  • Measure success, adapt and evolve

Creating a learning development plan is a core aspect of the learning and development your business should be promoting year in, and year out.

Thirst‘s AI-powered learning platform will help you to create tailored leadership plans integral to supercharge your business growth in 2024.

Want to try it for yourself? 👇👇👇

 Book a free demo and see Thirst it in action.


For more e-learning insights, resources and information, read the Thirst blog

The Ultimate Guide to Faster Employee Onboarding | 7 Ways to Identify Knowledge & Skills Gaps in Your Workforce | Skills vs Competencies: What Are the Key Differences?

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