An overview of how to write a personal leadership development plan.
If you plan to go into management or own your own business, you may want to develop a personal leadership plan. A personal leadership plan gives you a goal to work towards bettering leadership ability. The plan also structures leadership values with goals in leadership and this will make you a more effective leader in terms of consistency.
Leadership is a function of a variety of skills and traits that may include numerous elements such as listening or patience. As well as skills and traits, personal leadership is also comprised of knowledgeability, desire, and willingness. It would be impossible for a leader to lead a group of emergency responders without some knowledge of emergency management. It would be equally impossible to lead a team or group without having some form of willingness to provide the leadership needed. Within this framework of thinking, a leadership development plan can be created based on personal aspirations, goals, and knowledge.
An important aspect of becoming a leader is leadership study in order to gain an understanding of leadership models which cross a variety of industries and areas of academics. The two most significant corresponding ideas between all leadership models is the concepts of mission, vision, and values. Effective leadership always maintains these core concepts and integrates them within the processes or competencies of the organization. For this reason, a model of for leadership can be structured with the integration of mission, vision, and values.
Mission & Vision
As an emerging leader you will directly correlate mission, vision, and values with your field of interest. For example, if you are seeking to become an education leader then you would correlate your values with the field’s standards which are known as ISLLC. As the standards for education, ISLLC promotes interaction between various stakeholders through shared values (ISLLC Standards, 2015). Using this framework, standards promote successful strategies, behaviors, and skills within an occupation and between the various stakeholders since everyone is expected to abide by the standards. This leads to the development of a personal leadership mission and vision which should correlate with your chosen field.
In the absence of codified standards for a field, one of the most effective means of designing a leadership plan can be taken from Blanchard (2006)which allows for the development of leadership based on values that are broad considerations using the anagram ICARE:
I- Ideal service: Consistently meeting or exceeding the customers’ needs on a day-to-day basis by acting on the belief that service is important.
C- Culture of service: Creating an environment that focuses on serving customers — both internal and external — at the highest level.
A- Attentiveness: Listening in a way that allows you to know your customers and their preferences.
R- Responsiveness: Demonstrating a genuine willingness to serve others by paying attention to and acting on their needs.
E- Empowerment: Sharing information and tools to help people meet customer needs or exceed customer expectations (Blanchard, 2006).
Apply this same thinking to the personal leadership model, beginning first with a vision. One of the major ideas stated in management and leadership courses is the idea of vision. This idea of vision is uttered so often in management courses and in leadership studies, it often becomes redundant in nature. The vision needs to define the leader through values rather than through results. “Because when the definition of leadership focuses on goal accomplishment, one can think that leadership is only about results” (Blanchard, 2006).
Due to this issue, defining a vision through the values of credibility, quality, and fairness become paramount to success. In this way, the vision works towards the accomplishment of organizational goals and personal professional goals while maintaining positive outcomes. A personal vision might state:
To be the leader that best understands and satisfies the needs of the organization, worker, client, and fulfillment of these responsibilities.
Through this vision, a person is focused on stakeholder needs as well as organizational goals. Through this vision one attempts to create better performance in themself and in their peers and subordinates. This is leading with purpose as and this vision manifests in actions but also provides the basis for one’s mission,
To be the best leader, educator, and family man that I can be.
This mission is derived from the vision but it is empowered by values. The values of credibility, quality, and fairness become drivers for my behavior both personally and professionally. For example, if one values credibility, it is difficult to take part in unethical situations. Similarly, if one values quality it difficult to cut corners with work. In this way, the mission provides the ability to achieve goals which are value based rather than results oriented. To achieve goals such as professional goals, values allow one to pursue raises and promotions without compromising integrity. With education, goals form the basis of one’s ability to achieve academic excellence in a manner which lends itself to being collaborative and fair. This personal leadership approach allows one to be a better community member due to the values that become embedded in actions.
In some sense this is restatement of the transformational-servant leader which is a form of personal leadership based on a vision of serving others. This leadership style seems appropriate but depending on the field one is in, a different form of leadership style may be needed. One must also consider their core values as not all leaders view collaboration over loyalty for instance.
Since childhood, you sought to help people or perhaps strove to be the best at something. Typically, these aspirations form the basis of career choice and they are the dream underlying the reality. A child wants to help people and grows up to be a police officer. Only you know your aspirations but it is important that you list them and identify them such that you know what you are striving to be as a leader. Understanding aspirations not only serve to focus leadership but also to achieve the goals such as education needed to achieve this leadership among other secondary needs.
Goals and Objectives
To be a leader in a particular field one will need to set goals that are relevant to achieving this end. My goals at this time include:
· Degree in Field of Choice
· Focusing on a specific area of industry or management
· Find a job path in Public Safety
· Set goals for obtaining leadership positions
The goals should be simple and broad but achievable, allowing for more specific objectives to be molded around them. Example objectives might include,
· Graduate college with a degree in stated field in four years
· Define areas of interest in stated field and learn about them in X amount of time
· Intern or attempt work in the field within X amount of time
· Set workplace goal upon hiring to achieve leadership or management position.
You should also create performance goals comprising at least the following areas,
· Set standards — establishing of performance standards creates target goals which are intended to improve operations
· Set measure or achievement milestones — measuring performance can show where there is a weakness or strength in your plan.
· Track progress — record progress to check is standards and goals are being met (you cannot fix what you don’t measure).
· Quality Improvement — the process continues with the goal being measurable quality improvements to the organization.
All goals and objectives should be tied to a time constraint to make sure they are achieved.
You cannot define yourself as a leader or know your leadership style without learning about leadership. You also cannot share a vision of leadership with others if you do not have one. All other leadership planning fails to occur when there is no vision and mission to derive goals and objectives. Understanding the need for these elements of leadership will prepare you to make a comprehensive plan to enhance your leadership future.
Blanchard, K. (2006). Leading at a higher level: Blanchard on leadership and creating high performing organizations . Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: FT Press.
ISLLC Standards Summary (2021). The Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC)
Vincent Triola. Fri, Jan 08, 2021. How to Create a Personal Leadership Action Plan Retrieved from https://vincenttriola.com/blogs/ten-years-of-academic-writing/how-to-create-a-personal-leadership-action-plan