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Strong leaders understand that learning is an ongoing process. These leaders take time to invest in their professional development, knowing their progress will impact team members’ performance and business results.

But the reality is that while 83% of organizations believe developing leaders is essential to growing team members’ skills, only 5% of employers take action to make this a reality.

This guide and template aim to help fill that gap. Use this resource to craft a successful action plan to improve your leadership skills and begin investing in your development today.

What Is a Leadership Action Plan?

A leadership action plan is a step-by-step guide that helps people improve and develop their leadership skills. While each action plan will look different depending on an individual’s needs and goals, all will include critical elements like the following:

  • Your overall vision and goal for your career
  • Near-, mid-, and long-term objectives that fulfill the vision and goal
  • An evaluation strategy that measures the plan’s effectiveness

What Are the Benefits of a Leadership Action Plan?

There are five key benefits of a leadership action plan:

1. Better working relationships: When individuals learn to lead others better, they’ll experience improved working relationships. A robust action plan encourages leaders to develop self-awareness and understand their team members better. This knowledge allows leaders to establish more meaningful and effective partnerships at work.

2. Greater job satisfaction: With enhanced skills and knowledge, leaders will have greater confidence in their abilities to drive a team. They’ll have the resources and tools to tackle roadblocks and build a clear, collective team purpose. Having a clear purpose elevates engagement among workforce members and instills a sense of empowerment for leaders.

3. Stress reduction: Daily stressors will gradually decline as job satisfaction increases. Leaders will have the necessary tools and expertise to drive results. They’ll also feel capable of assisting team members in overcoming their obstacles.

4. Promotion opportunities: Research notes that 63% of individuals are promoted internally. Investing in your growth creates stepping stones toward success. A leadership action plan allows you to identify ways to contribute to the organization more fully.

5. Greater earning potential: With advancement opportunities comes better earning potential, and greater income allows leaders to invest in activities that bring them joy in their personal lives.

How Can Leaders Create an Action Plan?

Here are six steps you should take to create a leadership action plan:

1. Conduct a Leadership Assessment

Collect data using the following assessment types:

  • A self-assessment that reviews how you feel about work, abilities, challenges, and goals.
  • A 360° assessment that gathers feedback from multiple sources (immediate managers, peers, team members, direct reports, and clients, among others).

The data collected from these two sources will help identify your main challenges, areas for improvement, and strengths.

2. Define a Goal

Based on the data collected from step one, establish a goal that touches upon one or more of the following areas:

  • Something you’d like to improve based on potential skills gaps.
  • Something you’d like to focus on that aligns with team or organizational initiatives.
  • Something you’d like to develop further depending on the areas in which you excel.

3. Develop a Goal-Achievement Strategy

Develop a specific strategy to guide you toward achieving the goal established in step two. The strategy should entail a step-by-step approach where each step represents a milestone you’ve met that gets you closer to the end objective.

Ensure that every milestone has the following:

  • An action item that specifically notes how you’ll carry out a task linked to the goal
  • A way to measure the action item’s success (i.e., what type of feedback is required to close the task?)
  • A due date to maintain accountability

Share this strategy with your colleagues and manager.

4. Apply the Strategy

Keeping the due dates from step three in mind, execute on the action items. Depending on the individuals involved, give them advance notice of this launch.

5. Regularly Seek Feedback

Feedback is crucial to assessing your goal progress. It allows the space and time to evaluate what works and what doesn’t to make the necessary adjustments.

A strategy is never perfect the first time, and iteration is required to achieve desired outcomes. Thus, it’s important to recognize leadership development as an ongoing process and celebrate the successes that you experience along the way.

As strategies develop over time, feel free to add more objectives. Remember, a proactive action plan accounts for near-, mid-, and long-term objectives. One near-term objective may plant the seed for mid- and long-term goals, so let the ideas evolve organically.


  • Objective: Establish with the team a collective team purpose. Doing so will help foster morale and strengthen relationships among team members.
  • Action:
    • Have 1:1 and in-person meetings to brainstorm ideas for our team purpose.
    • Request that individuals formulate a purpose statement.
  • Desired Outcomes (or Measure Success): Team members will complete a quarterly survey. Ideally, the series of surveys should show progression in team morale and relationships over time.
  • Target Completion Date: 3/31/2023

Invest in Your Leadership Skills with CMOE

Leadership is a process, and consistent effort and practice leads to the creation of top-notch leaders. CMOE’s portfolio of Leadership Development Workshops helps leaders at all levels invest in their future potential and develop their skills. We take pride in building customized solutions that align with your goals and needs. Learn more about our programs and contact us for more information.