How to Create a Leadership Development Plan

Feb 16 2024 | Insights
Two women having a discussion at work

A robust training program will make all the difference when it comes to helping your employees rise through the ranks and thrive as new leaders. It’s important for developing managers to feel confident and supported in their new position. Though much of being a great leader comes from within, a well-structured development plan that provides direction and framework to improve existing skills is essential.

Here are some of our best practices in creating a leadership training program for managers. You can also check out our article to read more about training first-time managers.

Align the goals of the program with the wider goals of the business

To achieve your goals as a business, your managers need to be poised for success in this area with the necessary skills and know-how. For example, suppose you’ve set a short-term goal of increasing employee satisfaction by 20%. In that case, you should avoid a development plan that encourages reactive management because it is less effective at improving and maintaining employee well-being. Instead, you could prioritize consistent mentoring and feedback sessions.

Try asking yourself some of these questions before putting together a leadership development plan:

  1. What are our long-term and short-term goals as a business?

  2. How can we nurture leaders that align and connect with our company culture?

  3. How will we measure change when this initiative is implemented?

  4. What does success look like?

Talk to your employees

Arranging one-to-one meetings and conducting surveys to get an idea of employee sentiment is a proactive way to decide what kind of leadership style is needed to propel the business forward. Each perspective is valuable, and you’ll likely find some useful insights into what they’re expecting from a leader. This process not only reveals important feedback but also serves as an opportune moment to identify any organizational shortcomings that need addressing.

Address your leadership development goals and create an action plan

What’s special about the people you have chosen to undergo leadership training? What do you need your leaders to be able to do? This is where you want to get specific. Just looking for a ‘good attitude’ won’t cut it when developing sustainable leadership. Successful leaders will need to thrive at several skills, including strategizing, developing and managing employees, and prioritizing and managing their time. With EZRA Management Coaching, we look at six key goals as a baseline, these are:

  • Emotional intelligence

  • Communication

  • Leading change

  • Influence

  • Developing self

  • Leading for inclusion

However, our coaching programs can be highly tailored to each individual because we know that everyone has their own unique skill set that should be nurtured.

You’ll also need to consider how your prospective leaders will complete the program. For example, do your employees respond better to virtual learning programs or a blend with in-person sessions? Will certain people respond better to different activities? When working with Lazada, a Southeast Asian e-commerce company, some of the leaders we coached benefitted most from one-to-one advice, while others prioritized sharpening existing skills.

Here are some questions you might ask to help your leaders get the most out of a training program:

  1. How do our prospective leaders like to learn?

  2. Which learning formats will work best with the structure of our business?

  3. What are we struggling with in terms of leadership development?

  4. How can we effectively measure a leadership program's effectiveness?

At EZRA, leaders are able to choose their own coach to ensure optimal alignment and personalized support. This worked especially well with Citizens Bank, where leaders were able to perceive a personal connection to their coach as well as the expected knowledge and experience.

Consider a test run

After you’ve created an action plan, it’s good practice to pilot a session. This is where you can iron out any creases in the development program and decide on a proper protocol. It’s best to take things slow at this stage and consider all feedback so you don’t run into issues when the program is deployed to the organization.

Here are some questions to consider when running a pilot leadership development program:

  1. Is attendance in the program mandatory?

  2. What is the timeline for implementation?

  3. What happens if something goes wrong?

  4. How can we adjust the plan in response to feedback?

  5. Have we identified any more skills gaps from this test?

  6. How will we know it is successful?

With EZRA, everything you need for an effective tailor-made leadership development program, from customized resources to built-in assessments, is available in one place. We believe leadership coaches are essential for empowering leaders through improving their performance and prioritizing their development through guidance and support. Discover your next leadership coach with EZRA.

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