Building a Leadership Assessment & Development Plan

A leadership assessment and development plan is a highly effective method of assessing the quality of your leadership as well as that of your managerial colleagues. It involves setting aside time to think carefully and strategically about your leadership style, considering which areas you excel in and where your shortcomings lie.

The requirements of a leadership role will vary in accordance with company, department, industry and market conditions. As a result, your leadership assessment and development plan will need to meet your own unique objectives. Whilst generic templates are available online for you start off with, this should be a highly bespoke process which outlines the future structure of your company’s leadership team.

What should your leadership assessment and development plan contain?

Leadership Assessment

The aim of leadership assessment is to identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in a management role. It is a process that requires introspection as well as a willingness to listen and take on board the constructive criticism of others. Psychometric testing is commonly used to assist in the process. Done correctly, it should highlight aspects of the role that you need to pay more attention to and skills that you would benefit from acquiring or building up.

As well as thinking about your own leadership style, you also need to consider that of your colleagues. For a team to be successful, you need a group of leaders with complementary characteristics. Crucially, this does not mean everyone should be exactly the same. Everyone needs to reach an agreement on the company’s goals, values and strategy but the complete homogeneity of thought will simply stifle the creativity that allows companies to overcome obstacles and demonstrate innovation.

Consider the different ages of the company’s leaders and where they are on their career path. A younger individual is likely to be more ambitious and keen to learn, building their responsibility and experience to move into higher leadership roles. Meanwhile, an older CEO may be focusing on consolidating their achievements and pursuing new opportunities.

Leadership Development

The next stage in any leadership assessment and development plan focuses on addressing the concerns that arise during the assessment. You take all the intelligence you’ve just gathered on your existing behaviours, compare them to the requirements of the role and consider how you’re going to bridge a path between the two.

Begin by outlining your personal vision, values and priorities. It may help to think of other leaders you hold in high regard, both inside and outside your industry. Consider what it is exactly that you admire about them, whether it be their achievements, character traits or particular skills. Write down your thoughts as a reminder and guide for the future.

To do this, you will need to create SMART goals. No doubt you’ve heard of them, but just as a quick reminder:

S – Specific

M– Measurable

A– Achievable

R– Relevant

T– Timed

When you’re writing these goals, keep in mind the vision you have just described and think about whether these goals are working towards that. It may be worthwhile running your thoughts past other leaders in the company to ensure that you are all still striving for the same outcome.

Once your overarching goals have been defined, you need to attach specific actions to them. Fail to do this, and your goals will inevitably fall by the wayside as other concerns take precedence. We would also recommend that you make clear what resources (including hiring people to plug any capability gaps) you are likely to need.

Obviously, your personal and company priorities will change over time. That’s why it is important to regularly review your leadership assessment and development plan to ensure its continued relevance.

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