What can you do now to ensure that your learning and development needs are met in 2019? Creating a business case for your Leadership Development Plan can help you get the support you need from your employer.
What skills do you need to succeed in your career?
The New Year is often a time of focus on self-improvement and setting personal goals. It’s also much the same for our business and career goals. For many organizations (but not all!), January is the start of a new fiscal year. And it’s important to identify training priorities and costs into the new budget.
Many employers are starting to realize the importance in investing in their high potential employees. But it can also be difficult for employers to determine where and how to invest in leadership development. With a limited budget and many employees wanting to develop their leadership skills – what requests should we approve? How much do we allocate to each employee? Do they all get the same???
Be Proactive and Make a Compelling Case
Rather than just say I need $5000 for my leadership development this year, laying out a specific leadership development plan that demonstrates the value to your employer (as well as yourself!) might help make that decision in your favour. Why do you need this training? What will you be able to DO as a result of this training? And How does it benefit your employer?
Tips for Building a Leadership Development Plan
I have written several articles in the past that can help with setting priorities for learning and development.
From an employers perspective, this article looks at setting Strategic Priorities for Employee Development.
I also introduced the options of developing leadership skills through self-directed learning and blended approach for team learning.
And I have outlined the convenience and cost-effective benefits of eLearning for developing leadership skills.
The following outlines components that we use in the NMC Leadership Learning & Development Plan template.
Build on my strengths:
In a previous article, I discussed the importance of building on strengths for leadership success. Consider, what are my unique strengths and how can I leverage them to be more effective in my role? Here, you might use a combination of self-assessment and trusted feedback. For example – where have you been most successful in the past? What have your supervisors, colleagues and/or clients commented on?
Skills I need for my current role:
Consider core competency for leadership and management, as well as one’s specific to your job description and the goals of your organization and/or business unit. Identify any specific gaps and/or areas that you need to strengthen and WHY it’s important for your role. What will I be able to DO as a result of acquiring this skill?
Work priorities for the coming year:
Making that connection between your learning and the priorities of your workplace can be helpful. Take a look at my previous article on the alignment of organizational development and individual skill development. Are there specific goals for your organization and/or your own business unit that will require specific skills? For example – Change Leadership, Strategic Planning, Cross Cultural Leadership…?
Skills I need for my future role:
Consider that employers want to keep high potential employees, and maybe even groom them for more senior roles. This is a good place to plant that seed! What will you be able to offer your employer in the future? If your career goals involve a promotion or new position, what new skills will help you attain it?
Skills I will Develop this Year
These are your learning objectives. List in order of priority the skills which are most important and realistic for the coming year. Identify WHY they are important for your current and/or future role, and HOW they leverage your strengths. To ensure support from your supervisor, it helps to be specific on how this training will benefit your employer. For example – Change Leadership is an important competency in most any organization but is a high priority skill for me as our organization has and will continue to go through many changes. I can build on my strengths for organizing and planning but need to develop new leadership and communications skills that will help me lead my team through challenging and confusing times.
How I will develop my skills
This is where you outline how you will implement your leadership development plan and achieve your learning objectives. You want to identify these elements for each of the skills that you outlined above.
- Do some research to find the approach that best meets your individual learning objectives. Which specific courses and training do you need? Or perhaps a combination of self-directed learning, reading, mentoring, etc. Include the estimated costs of each.
- Identify target dates for both starting and completing each course and/or learning objective.
- HOW you will know if you have succeeded? What evaluation methods are included?
What resources do I need to be successful?
Be up front about the total costs (including travel, books, materials) for your development. What do you need in terms of time away from work, travel, etc.? Perhaps you can identify some alternative approaches if cost and time are a factor. Also identify additional resources, such as mentoring, special assignments, etc.
How I will apply my new skills
Again, it helps to be as specific as possible to demonstrate the value you will provide for your employers’ “investment” in your training. Perhaps you can start with something small and specific. For example – I will apply my Change Leadership skills by implementing that new order tracking system we have been talking about.
Get started now!
Contact us for a copy of our Leadership Development Plan template. And take a look at the courses offered in our Strategic Manager Learning System. Learn the skills you need, when you need them with 24/7 access to your courses. Perhaps start with our free mini course on Strategic Communication?