leadership development plan largeHave you ever wondered how some companies have employees who are happy and stay happy? Do you want to be able to set each of your employees up for success?

If so, your company needs to create a leadership development plan.

These plans are designed to enable your workforce to grow into leadership positions. [quotes]They offer all employees a chance to grow and move up within the organization. And, they help your company to grow. [/quotes]

Creating a leadership development plan will take time, energy and effort, but the results are excellent and the benefits are endless.

So, how best to create a leadership development plan? Let’s look at the details, starting with the benefits.

Higher Employee Morale

If you want happy employees, morale must be a focus of your company. Having a leadership development plan boosts morale as it gives employees a way to move up within the company.

[quotesright]An employee who feels stuck won't be very happy.[/quotesright] Because of this, it's important to create an environment where your employees know that there is a way to grow beyond the worker bee status.

Increased Productivity

Your company has to run like a well-oiled machine. [quotesright]If your employees are not productive, your business will suffer. [/quotesright] Employees are more likely to be productive if they see your company as a long-term option.

Studies have proven that engaged employees are:

  • A full 12 percent more productive
  • Profitable
  • Safer
  • Focused on creating strong customer relationships
  • More likely to stay with the company longer

[quotesright]Increased productivity means increased innovation.[/quotesright] Innovation keeps your business growing and relevant.

Make Your Employees Feel Valued

Would you come to work if you felt as if the work you do isn't impactful? Employees at all levels need to feel valued.

One way to make employees feel like an important asset of your company is to offer them a way forward. A leadership development plan does exactly that.


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45151564 leadership mesh largeHow to Build a Leadership Development Plan

Once you embrace the idea of a leadership development plan, the real work begins.

Here are steps to take to craft a plan for your employees.

#1 Define What Makes a Good Leader

Anyone can become a boss. But becoming a leader takes skill, dedication, and knowledge.

To begin, create a list of leadership traits that you require in your company.

Some attributes to consider adding to your list include:

  • Ability to communicate
  • Creative and intuitive
  • Honest and ethical
  • Confident
  • A positive attitude

Once your initial draft is complete, have other leaders in the company add their own ideas.

[quotesright]Knowing what makes a good leader allows your employees to emulate those qualities. [/quotesright]

#2 Offer Development Opportunities

Providing employees endless amounts of training without follow-up and implementation of new skills isn't useful. Anyone can attend a class and take notes.

Future leaders need to be developed and nurtured. [quotes]You can't make a high-quality leader, but you can help one develop.[/quotes]

The leadership development plan you create needs to offer growth opportunities. Give employees the chance to shadow leaders in the company. Offer the ability to step in for leaders when they are away.

This allows employees to collaborate with area leaders and to make decisions.

Other development opportunities to offer include:

  • Leadership shadowing
  • Mentoring
  • Job rotation
  • Project leadership
  • Coaching

#3 Identify Potential Leaders

Leaders can exist at any position within your company. Offering all employees the ability to become leaders is useful. However, it's also important to pinpoint employees within the company who have the potential to make high-quality leaders.

When identifying potential leaders, have an open mind. Refer back to your list of important leadership qualities. [quotesright]There are excellent personnel assessments that will help you spot leaders and understand what areas need development. You don’t have to “fly blind.” [/quotesright]

Tip: Avoid the tunnel vision trap. Sometimes the highest performing employees don't make the best leaders. Be willing to look beyond those employees who are the most obvious candidates.

Also, ensure that the potential leaders you choose are interested in a leadership role. [quotes]Some employees simply don't want to be managers.[/quotes] If this is the case, it's crucial to ensure that these employees are still able to contribute to your company at their own level.

The key is to be certain that all employees are aware of the leadership development plan you've crafted.

#4 Determine Ways to Measure Results

What good is a leadership development program if there's no way to measure its success?

Metrics to consider using include:

  • The number of employees who develop into effective leaders
  • The number of employees who complete the program
  • Promotion statistics
  • What leadership skills employees have developed
  • Retention statistics

You can also measure results by looking at employee decisions. [quotesright]Have participants in the program taken up a role in a new project? Have they stepped up in an area of business that is outside their comfort zone? [/quotesright]

A quality leader is willing to move within the company to get a big-picture view.

#5 Allow Employees to Address Problems

Before individuals become leaders, they need to be challenged.

[quotes]No one becomes a leader by talking about problems. Instead, leaders emerge by taking action and addressing company challenges.[/quotes]

Is your company facing a marketing slump? Does your business need to find a way to cut costs for next year's budget?

Use real assignments and projects that expose employees to company challenges. Create cross-functional teams that can work together to solve a problem.

The effective problem solvers will emerge.