12 Month Sample Leadership Development Plan

A 12 month leadership development plan is essential to identifying, planning and executing a path to success. It is the key to implementing those strategies to help any leader develop the skills necessary to move up the career ladder. Last week I discussed the 3 main parts of a successful 12 month development plan and here is a sample leadership development plan to help you create your own.


Identify the areas you want to focus on for improvement and then select the action steps needed to make it happen by the target dates.


Every leader has talent in many areas that they simply may not be using to their full advantage. Next, identify your strengths that you can leverage for greater success and effectiveness.


The next to creating your leadership development plan is to focus on those behaviors you need to STOP, START and CONTINUE doing.


The last part of your 12 month development plan asks you to define what success looks like to you. How will you measure whether you’ve been successful achieving your development goals?

Take the time to complete your leadership development plan now and utilize it to improve your effectiveness as a leader. The rewards of creating and implementing your strategic plan will result in building stronger relationships at work, increasing productivity, improving your performance and benefiting your career and the company as a whole. For a complete 12 month plan and toolkit, download our sample leadership development plan here.

Create A 12 Month Leadership Development Plan

Every leader and high potential should complete a 12 month leadership development plan each year to help guide them through the actions necessary to take their career to the next level. Developing your leadership skills should be a continuous process, one that never ends even when you reach the corner office.

To get started, this blog will discuss the 3 main parts of a successful 12 month development plan and the next blog will give a few examples of a 12 month development plan. By taking the time to understand what goes into a successful development plan, you will be able to create one for yourself that will actually propel you forward in your career.

There are 3 main parts of an effective leadership development plan:


These are the main goals or outcomes you want to accomplish with your development plan. It is best to select 3 or 4 main objectives. They are usually the broad, umbrella goals that you are focusing on, such as:

  • Effectively transition leadership development from the external coach to the executive and his/her manager.
  • Specify the critical success factors required to meet the unit/function and position’s goals over the next 12 months.
  • Build a system that identifies multiple sources of feedback and learning required to sustain on-going development. save


Elements are the key components that create your development plan. They list out specific actions that are necessary to help you accomplish your goals and provide a complete picture of all that’s involved.

  • Unit/Functional vision (one that goes 3-4 years in the future).
  • Outline strategic initiatives for the role and unit, and tie them to the overall strategy.
  • Personal and business goals.
  • Develop plans for each initiative identified.
  • Leadership behaviors to stop, start and continue.
  • Identify leadership strengths to leverage for greater success.
  • Determine barriers or obstacles that need to be addressed.
  • Tie to the executive’s leadership strengths and goals.
  • Outline the key developmental opportunities that require on-going development and the plans to address each one (leadership challenges and opportunities to develop).
  • Get approval and buy-in from his/her manager for the plan.
  • Recruit advocates from team, peers and management to serve as feedback providers and coaches over the course of the year.
  • Determine measures of success.
  • Quarterly check-up dates.


Advocates are key stakeholders and/or a mentor who can be trusted. They are also motivated to provide on-going feedback and offer suggestions for change to the leader’s plan.

  • Advocates are best at the 360 degree levels: direct reports, peers and managers.
  • Recruit 4-5 advocates who agree to serve as feedback providers over the course of the year for your continued development.
  • Use the FeedForward process to help advocates be most effective.
  • Approach advocates at least quarterly for suggestions and recommendations on improving your leadership effectiveness.

Next week we’ll review some samples of a 12 month leadership development strategic plan so you will be able to create one to help guide you to career success.