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Creating a Companywide Leadership Development Plan

In last week’s blog, we discussed how an individual can work to develop their leadership skills. However, if companies want to excel in the long-run and retain valuable employees, they need to make leadership development a priority for all managers. How can companies create a leadership development plan to support all of their managers with leadership skill building and growth?

Generally companies promote workers to management positions because they excel at the technical aspects of their job. However, being good at ones functional job does not make one a good manager. The skills needed are often very different than what got one into the management position in the first place. But many companies leave their managers to sink or swim on their own – hurting not only the manager, but the entire department being managed.

So what is a leadership development plan? It is a strategic plan to help companies identify their leadership talent and then provide the resources to develop their leadership competencies and prepare them for management/leadership roles. These plans are long-term and unique to each employee. So how do you get started? Here are seven steps from AIHR Digital.

Identify Talent – First you need to identify which employees should be included in a leadership development plan. If your company doesn’t currently have a formal leadership talent assessment tool, this 9 Box Grid Tool is a good start.

Buy-In – For any plan to work, you need buy-in from senior leadership. You will also need the support of the employee’s supervisor, as you may need to pull the employee away from their day-to-day responsibilities to train and take on new projects, etc. Finally, the employee has to want to participate. If they are not interested in taking on a leadership position (or at least not now), then your efforts will be wasted

Leadership Style – Each person may gravitate to a particular style of leadership, but each company may have unique leadership styles that they promote based on company culture/business needs. However, managers need to be aware of and able to function using a number of styles, depending on any given situation.

Determine the Leadership Competencies Your Company Needs – There are also a number of different leadership competencies that should be mastered. Each company needs to identify for itself which competencies are critical to the success of the business – so they can focus on those first.

Assess Employee’s Leadership Competencies – The logical next step is to assess the employee’s mastery of those key leadership competencies, and where their training needs to focus.

Develop Employee’s Leadership Development Plan – Next comes putting together the specific plan for the employee. This plan should include a variety of different learning opportunities, from peer mentoring and job shadowing, to professional development courses and certification, and more.

Conduct 360-Degree Assessment – Finally, throughout the process, and even after the development plan is considered complete, companies should conduct 360-degree assessments. This will tell not only the employee how they are progressing, but also how well the program is working as a whole throughout the company.

There will be numerous challenges along the way to building a robust and sustainable leadership development program. Time and budget resources are always tight, and the urgencies of the day will push to delay employee training and needed assessments. However, if companies want to succeed in the long run and retain not only their future leaders, but the talent that will be working under those leaders, then companies will push past these challenges and make leadership development a priority.

By Ann Condon, Marketing Manager

Ann Condon has been with Dion for 17 years, working in Dion’s Marketing and Business Development Department. Although this was her first position with a jewelry manufacturer, she has learned a lot over the years. Ann enjoys getting involved in “All Things Dion” from volunteering at the Dion Golf Tournament to being a part of the Dion Diamonds Relay for Life Team. She has quite a number of Dion event t-shirts to show for it!


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