Leadership Plans and Templates to Develop Business and Personal Success (2023)

Leadership development plans can be a great way to encourage growth in both business and personal situations. They’re infinitely customizable, they can be altered to suit the needs of each individual team member, and all of this can happen without damaging the overall potential impact of the tool. So, let’s start by talking about the tool itself. What is it, and how can it be used to improve business leadership skills and strategies? Read on to find both the answers to these questions, and a step-by-step guide that will assist you in the task of assembling your own plan. Don’t be worried about a lean; the template below will be general enough to be used for either business or personal development.

Table of Contents

What is a Leadership Development Plan?

A leadership development plan is defined as a detailed plan that helps you set your career on a strategic leadership track. Simply put, it’s your vision statement. The goal behind it is to give you the ability to see your current situation in the context of where you would like to be in 3, 5, or 10 years. You wouldn’t open a business without a business plan, and you shouldn’t start your career without a plan either.

Most people choose to simply remember their plan instead of writing it down, but there’s a wealth of data to indicate that path may be less than productive. Harvard University polled all of its graduating seniors in 1976. The question they asked was simple: Did you write down your vision statement? Do you have a plan for how your future will progress?

Ninety-seven percent (97%) of the seniors polled said no. Three percent (3%) answered yes.

Ten years later, Harvard found out that the 3% of the graduates that had written out their leadership development plans were worth more than the other 97% combined.

Imagine what a personal leadership development plan could do for you today.

Leadership Development Plan Examples


Below, you can find a compilation of some of the best leadership development plans available. As they’re presented, we will also go through step by step and explain how to use them to create a plan for yourself.

Step 1: Choose Your Medium. Your development plan is something that you need to be able to review frequently, so the medium you choose is of utmost importance. Are you one of those people that remember things better if you write them by hand? If so, consider setting up your plan on a large poster board or tri-fold board. You can write in the events and goals that are permanent and unlikely to change in a heavy marker, and any events that are likely to be altered can be written on easily removable post-it notes.

If writing something by hand makes you shudder, consider using a program like Office 365 or Evernote to store and edit your plan. These two, specifically, make ideal candidates for this type of application because they can be accessed from anywhere you have an internet connection. That includes your mobile phone, which is an important bonus. Having your plan easily accessible is essential.

Think of it as your daily affirmation. Add those parts of the plan that required you to learn something to your daily routine, and soon; it will become as much a part of you as your own breath or heartbeat.

Step 2: Choose Your Time Period. This should be a period of time no shorter than 3 years that can be easily broken up into smaller periods. This is designed to help you see where you want to be after the period of time has ended.

Do you want to own your own franchise at the end of 5 years? Maybe you want to own a chain of franchises by the end of the next decade. This is the sort of thing you need to think about when choosing your time period.

Step 3: Set your Ultimate Goal. This is sometimes the hardest part of crafting a personal leadership development plan. What is your ultimate goal? Where do you want to be after your time period has ended? Perhaps a better question is where do you see yourself after that time? This, above all else, is what you will be working toward. This is the light at the end of your tunnel and the thing you may find yourself clinging to when time gets tough.

Step 4: Set Stepping Stone Goals.Once you’ve set your ultimate goal, the next step is to set a series of smaller goals that will help you achieve that end. For example:

Ultimate Goal: Own a chain of fast food franchises within 10 years.

Stepping Stone 1: Find a job within one of these preexisting franchises. Time: 3 months.

Stepping Stone 2: Enroll in College for an AA in Business Administration. Time: 1 Month.

Stepping Stone 3: Obtain a promotion within the franchise. Time: Within 1 year.

Stepping Stone 4: Complete accelerated coursework for Business Administration Degree. Time: 18 Months from date of Stepping Stone 2.

This is just a very basic example, but I think you can see where we’re going. Continue repeating the pattern outlined above. Do so until you have a series of steps laid out between today and your ultimate goal. You should note that your actual list of steps should contain much greater detail than our generalized example above. Don’t worry about adding detail from the start though, because, at the beginning, it’s more important to lay out the structure. As you progress, expand upon the goals listed in your outline and fill in the gaps.

The first rule of delineating your goals is to make sure they are realistic and achievable. If you add something to your list that appears to be unattainable, you may find yourself discouraged. Don’t be. Take a second look and see if there’s something you can do to re-word it or break it down into smaller pieces.

Step 5: Mark down your start and projected end dates. This may be unnecessary, but many people find it helpful. If you’re going to start immediately (and you should!), write down today’s date, and then add the prescribed number of years between now and the time period that was previously specified. The other reason an end date is important is to give you some way of evaluating your progress. Even if you have a well thought out timeline, it can be hard to see the end without a definitive date. It’ll feel like you’re staring out into the abyss with no concept of place or time. The date will give you a reference via which to compare your project.

Step 6:Celebrate your Achievements!Once you have reached one of your stepping stone goals, do something nice for yourself. For a short-term goal, treat yourself to a massage or a manicure (depending on your gender). Longer-term goals would obviously merit larger rewards.

Another step you could take would be to add these rewards into your development plan. If you reach a 2-year goal, you buy a new computer. A 5-year goal would merit something like a new car. Don’t skimp on yourself. These are amazing achievements and each one should be celebrated, no matter how small.


Now that you have a good idea how to write your own personal development plan, here is an easy to follow structure for a leadership development plan for use in a professional setting. The main difference here is that the plan should be discussed in detail with the team member in question before it is implemented.

Step 1:Find and Print a Template (Or Create Your Own). For a professional leadership development plan, you’re going to need something that can be easily duplicated for each new candidate. A pre-crafted template that can be saved to a computer and printed at will is one of the easiest ways to handle this. If your office is paper free or you would just rather not handle the paperwork, then a digital format can be equally effective. The only caveat for the digital form is to make sure that the candidate will be able to access the information at any time.

Step 2:Pick a Time Period.In many cases, the time period for a professional plan will be much shorter than a personal one. Many companies create this sort of development plan once a year during an annual evaluation. The expectation then is that the plan you create will have a maximum duration of about 12 months. If the team member has been with the company for a long period of time, feel free to craft a plan that covers a long stretch of time.

Step 3:Pick the Ultimate Goal.Although an internal professional leadership plan will have an entirely different set of goals than a personal plan, the basic template is going to be the same. Pick the ultimate goal that you would like your team member to reach within the allotted period of time. This could be as simple as earning a promotion or as complicated as creating and implementing a new functional protocol for the company.

Step 4: Pick The Stepping Stone Goals. This will not be as comprehensive as stepping stone goals on a personal plan but nevertheless, it is an important step to take. For a period of 12 months, you should attempt to set at least 6 stepping stone goals.

Step 5:Mark down the start and end dates. This step is identical to step 5 on the personal plan. You know how people get excited when their birthday or favorite holiday rolls around. Give their development plan a completion date and you’re certain to see the same sort of excitement.

Step 6: CELEBRATE! While this won’t be as extensive as the rewards for the personal plan, some sort of incentive should be offered for the completion of the leadership plan. A monetary incentive, such as a raise, bonus, or night out on the company is a very popular option.

Leadership Development Plan Template

Now that you have a good idea of how to write your own development plan, we’ve included an easy to follow template that can also be edited or altered as needed.


Vision Statement________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Start Date:_____________


GoalPrerequisites or Needed ResourcesTime to CompleteIncentive or Reward

Projected End Date:________________

Picking a single goal and working toward it can be a great way to help you lose 10 pounds or save that last $50 for your new video game console, but when it comes to your career, that just isn’t enough.

Craft your vision statement, develop a concrete plan to achieve it, and follow it to your future.

Good luck!


What should be in a leadership development plan? ›

As the name implies, a leadership development plan outlines the steps that you intend to take in order to be a better leader. A plan should include skills you need to improve, responsibilities you want to take on, and tasks that you hope to complete.

What are the five components of a leadership development plan? ›

What elements are important in a leadership development program?
  • Coaching. First, it's important to provide a coach or a mentor for each person in your leadership development program. ...
  • Accountability. ...
  • Change management. ...
  • Influence and negotiation. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Goals and milestones.
22 Jan 2021

What are the 9 steps to creating a leadership development plan? ›

Writing Your Leadership-Development Plan
  • Write Down Your Initial Development Goals. ...
  • Study the Traits of Great Leaders. ...
  • Assess Your Own Personality and Traits. ...
  • Write Down Your Top Values. ...
  • Check Your Self-Perception Against Others' Opinions. ...
  • Prepare a Personal Vision Statement. ...
  • Choose Skills to Develop.

What are some examples of leadership goals? ›

10 leadership development goals
  • Become an active listener. ...
  • Offer constructive feedback that facilitates growth. ...
  • Be adaptable to change and growth. ...
  • Improve your emotional intelligence (EQ or EI). ...
  • Become more efficient. ...
  • Build dynamic teams. ...
  • Lead by example. ...
  • Be a mentor.

What are the top 7 keys to successful leadership? ›

7 Keys to Becoming a Super Effective Leader
  1. Don't take It all too seriously. Without a doubt, running a company is serious business. ...
  2. Recognize achievements. Every employee wants to do a good job. ...
  3. Set goals. ...
  4. Delegate wisely. ...
  5. Think about lasting solutions. ...
  6. Make time for employees. ...
  7. Communicate.
29 Jan 2018

What are the 7 elements of leadership? ›

7 Essential Elements to Successful Leadership
  • Transparency. When a leader is transparent, they are challenged less by those they oversee. ...
  • Learn from Failure. Experiencing failure has the power to shape a leader. ...
  • Trust. One of the core principles of leadership is trust. ...
  • Confidence. ...
  • Decisiveness. ...
  • Humility. ...
  • Creativity.

What is a personal development plan example? ›

A PDP is a form of self-evaluation and self-reflection that is typically used in higher education and the workplace. However, it can also be a beneficial exercise in your personal life. For example, you may want to learn a new language before travelling overseas, and a PDP can help you achieve this goal.

What are the 6 areas of personal development? ›

The aspects of personal development refer to areas in your life that when developed may create positive change. The six aspects of personal development are physical wellness, financial wellness, relational well-being, emotional health, spiritual wellness, and intellectual wellness. Each one builds the others.

What are the 5 areas of personal development at work? ›

There are five categories: mental, social, spiritual, physical, and emotional. Let's take a closer look at each category today. Regardless of how busy your life is, stick around to learn how to add personal development to it. The first of the five areas of personal development is all about growing your mind.

What are the 4 P's of leadership? ›

This experience enabled us to identify four key elements that seem to improve the odds of leadership success—what we call “four Ps”: perception, process, people, and projection.

What are the 8 essentials in leadership? ›

I've distilled my conversation with Wang to eight of the most essential qualities that make a great leader.
  • Sincere enthusiasm. True enthusiasm for a business, its products, and its mission cannot be faked. ...
  • Integrity. ...
  • Great communication skills. ...
  • Loyalty. ...
  • Decisiveness. ...
  • Managerial competence. ...
  • Empowerment. ...
  • Charisma.
8 Feb 2018

What are 4 leadership concepts? ›

There are several main types of leadership theories: trait, behavioral, management, relationship and situational theories. Each of these types of theories is based on specific foundations that are rooted in how a leader takes action, manages a team of people, makes decisions and adapts to different situations.

What are the 5 leadership techniques? ›

The 5 most common leadership styles are:
  • Transformational Leadership.
  • Delegative Leadership.
  • Authoritative Leadership.
  • Transactional Leadership.
  • Participative Leadership.

What is the 70 20 10 rule in leadership development? ›

The 70-20-10 rule reveals that individuals tend to learn 70% of their knowledge from challenging experiences and assignments, 20% from developmental relationships, and 10% from coursework and training.

What are 6 ways to develop leadership skills? ›

How to Improve Leadership Skills?
  • Select one from the different types of leadership you want to follow.
  • Start reading.
  • Join a good leadership development program.
  • Gain mastery over soft skills.
  • Set clear goals and track progress.
  • Take responsibility and volunteer.
  • Network with leaders and find a mentor.
30 Mar 2022

What are the 5 smart goals examples? ›

5. SMART goal example for increasing sales
  • Specific: I will learn new sales techniques to increase sales at work.
  • Measurable: My goal is to double my sales in four months.
  • Attainable: I've been a sales associate for two years now. ...
  • Relevant: I want to feel more confident at my job and learn new skills.
5 Aug 2022

What are some smart goals for leadership? ›

Examples Of Leadership SMART Goals

Specific: Develop communication aptitudes that lead to 25% fewer inquiries during group gatherings. Measurable: Reduction of inquiries during meetings by 25%. Achievable: Attend weekend workshops on communication skills.

What are the top 10 tips to become a better and successful leader? ›

  • Engage in honest, open communication.
  • Connect with your team members.
  • Encourage personal and professional growth.
  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Teach employees instead of giving orders.
  • Set clear employee goals and expectations.
  • Give direct feedback about performance.
  • Ask for feedback on your leadership.

What are the 7 importance of leadership? ›

A leader must be able to motivate their team. A team that is easily motivated will overcome obstacles to achieve goals. A good leader will understand the different needs of each team member and knows ways to satisfy them. By creating a great environment, it will support and encourage team members.

What are 7 characteristics of a good leader? ›

7 Qualities of a Good Leader
  • You Are Focused. ...
  • You Are Mindful. ...
  • You Are Deliberate. ...
  • You Are Consistent. ...
  • You Are Strategic. ...
  • You Are Willing to Admit When You Are Wrong. ...
  • You Are Teachable.
26 May 2021

What are the 3 most important values as a leader? ›

Core values of a leader make for great leadership

Vision. Communication. Reinforcement and influence. Empathy.

What are the 11 principles of leadership? ›

The 11 Principles of Leadership
  • Know yourself and seek self-improvement.
  • Be technically and tactically proficient.
  • Develop a sense of responsibility among your subordinates.
  • Make sound and timely decisions.
  • Set an example.
  • Know your people and look out for their welfare.
  • Keep your people informed.

What are the 10 leadership principles? ›

My Ten Principles Of Leadership
  • Believe in the power of every individual.
  • Build a “we vs. ...
  • Embrace humility, listen to others.
  • Create energy: inspire the team.
  • Make decisions consistently, find a framework and use it.
  • Understand all the stakeholders involved.
  • Respect and honor technology.
  • Love and study people.
12 Jun 2021

What is a personal business development plan? ›

Personal development plans (PDPs) provide a powerful, flexible way to link employees' professional and personal development with the development of your business. A PDP is a short, unambiguous written document that maps out how a person can develop skills and progress in their job.

What is a good personal development goal for work? ›

Consider choosing one of these common personal development goals: Improve your time management. Develop emotional intelligence. Cultivate resilience.

How can I improve myself professionally? ›

Follow these steps to improve yourself professionally:
  1. Read often.
  2. Adopt a new hobby.
  3. Sign up for a training session.
  4. Identify in-demand skills.
  5. Try a new schedule.
  6. Commit to an exercise routine.
  7. Set big goals.
  8. Change your mindset.

What are your 3 areas of self-improvement? ›

5 areas for self-improvement
  • Your emotional well-being and how you care for your mental health, including your resilience and self-compassion.
  • Your physical well-being and overall fitness.
  • Your personal characteristics (think: self-confidence and self-esteem)
28 Jun 2022

What are 3 of your personal growth areas? ›

5 areas of personal growth
  • Mental growth. Mental growth focuses on the development of your mind, such as the way you think and learn. ...
  • Social growth. Social growth involves improving your communication skills. ...
  • Spiritual growth. ...
  • Emotional growth. ...
  • Physical growth.

What are the key factors in personal development for success? ›

9 Success Factors for Personal Growth – Achieve Your Best Life
  • Education. The first of the nine success factors is education. ...
  • Skill. The second of the nine success factors that you can use to achieve the best life possible is simply skill. ...
  • Contacts. ...
  • Money. ...
  • Good Work Habits. ...
  • Positive Mental Attitude. ...
  • Positive Image. ...
  • Creativity.

What is a positive leadership style? ›

Positive leadership is modeling, facilitating, and purposefully influencing positive emotions that encourage team members and employees to excel in their work. Positive leaders cultivate an empowering environment through communication, accountability, emotional intelligence, motivation, and model-worthy work ethic.

What are four 4 key qualities of an effective leader? ›

Effective leaders are competent, skilled, secure, and considerate. These leaders find time for everyone; they are genuine and authentic in their communications and actions.

What are the 4 strategy? ›

The four phases of strategic management are formulation, implementation, evaluation and modification.

What are the 3 rules of leadership? ›

The 3 Essential Rules for Being a Great Leader
  • Reduce ambiguity.
  • Be fair.
  • Stay positive.
  • The takeaway.
30 Jul 2018

What are the examples of leadership development? ›

Here are 12 examples of effective leadership development topics:
  • Conflict resolution. ...
  • Dealing with change. ...
  • Problem-solving. ...
  • Leading innovation. ...
  • Virtual leadership. ...
  • Project planning and delegating. ...
  • Building trust and respect. ...
  • Coaching to improve employee performance.

What does a leadership development plan look like? ›

A leadership development plan is a strategic plan designed to help employees gain and develop leadership competencies and prepare them for management and leadership roles within an organization. This plan is usually structured, long-term and personalized for the unique needs of an employee and the organization.

What is a good smart goal for leadership? ›

Examples Of Leadership SMART Goals

Specific: Develop communication aptitudes that lead to 25% fewer inquiries during group gatherings. Measurable: Reduction of inquiries during meetings by 25%. Achievable: Attend weekend workshops on communication skills.

What is a good personal development plan? ›

A personal development plan, which is also known as a PDP, is an action plan that you can use to identify: Your individual goals and what you want to achieve. Your strengths and weaknesses. The areas you need to improve and develop to meet your goals.

What are the 6 components of a personal development plan? ›

So let's dive into the six steps you need to take to create your own professional development plan (PDP).
  • Step 1: Assess yourself. ...
  • Step 2: Set your goals. ...
  • Step 3: Develop strategies. ...
  • Step 4: Gather your resources. ...
  • Step 5: Create a timeline. ...
  • Step 6: Track your progress.
15 Jun 2022

What are the 3 keys to successful development? ›

Irrespective of what “Success” means to each, what has been clearly understood that there are three key elements of success. They are - Clarity of Purpose, Growth Mindset, and Courage. Without purpose, it is hard to have a clear direction.

What are four 4 Features of a good professional development plan? ›

Regardless, there are always 5 elements that every professional development plan should include. They are assessment, goals, resources, strategy, and evaluation.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rueben Jacobs

Last Updated: 06/08/2023

Views: 5458

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rueben Jacobs

Birthday: 1999-03-14

Address: 951 Caterina Walk, Schambergerside, CA 67667-0896

Phone: +6881806848632

Job: Internal Education Planner

Hobby: Candle making, Cabaret, Poi, Gambling, Rock climbing, Wood carving, Computer programming

Introduction: My name is Rueben Jacobs, I am a cooperative, beautiful, kind, comfortable, glamorous, open, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.