Leadership is a unique field of knowledge providing people with a chance to attain complex goals, organize groups, and ensure people’s better performance. Today, the rise of business and the emergence of multiple companies stimulated the growth of rivalry, which also increased the relevance and significance of leadership. Under these conditions, it is vital to focus on cultivating specific skills in individuals to improve their ability to manage others and enhance performance. The pivotal aim of this personal development plan (PDP) is to outline leadership skills and competencies vital for a strong leader, analyze weaknesses and strengths, and offer ways for future leadership development helping to eliminate the existing drawbacks. The PDP includes an introduction, analysis, list of core leadership qualities, assessment, objectives, methods to achieve them, evaluation, and conclusion. The plan will lead to a better understanding of my current skills and consideration of things that should be done to become a better leader. Moreover, it can be used by future leaders to realize the core aspects and their significance.
Prior to speaking about leadership and how to improve it as the part of PDP, it is vital to analyze my personal traits. I am working in a private sector company which I joined after graduation from the university. The top management encouraged me to become a member of specific leadership courses to become a strong and skilled leader who can promote positive change within a company. For this reason, the creation of the PDP is vital for me as it will help to outline the way for me and other specialists. I also view this suggestion as a perfect way to become better and create the basis for my future career. The trait theory of leadership views personal peculiarities as vital aspects, for this reason, their correct understanding by a person is fundamental for future success. Using SWOT analysis, it is possible to outline my characteristics:
- Strengths: Flexibility, responsibility, self-confidence, knowledge, creativity.
- Weaknesses: decision-making, communication, time management.
- Opportunities: further develop my skills and competencies; create the framework for other employees to evolve.
- Threats: subjectivity, inability to attain current objectives.
This analysis outlines the areas that should be improved and establishes the basis for the discussion and the PDP.
Most existing leadership theories state that specific values, skills, and competencies are directly correlated with an individual’s ability to manage people. For instance, Collyer (2016) is sure that leaders with better communication skills are more successful in organizing teams and boosting their performance. It becomes possible due to their ability to explain tasks and motivate specialists to attain them (Daft, 2015; Walker, 2018). Under these conditions, most researchers outline a set of core leadership qualities that should be present in any leader for him/her to succeed. These include creativity, communication, decision-making, knowledge, and readiness to learn (Dugan, 2017). It means that the cultivation of these elements can help a person to become a better manager and achieve the existing goals. These fundamental qualities should also be assessed and evaluated to understand their current state and what should be done to improve them. For this reason, it is vital to include the five discussed elements in PDP to ensure that other specialists and I can focus on them to attain success.
Communication has always been one of the most important elements of any leadership theory. According to Griffin et al. (2018), the ability to share knowledge with employees, explain tasks, and discuss problems can help to attain the desired outcome and lead to the improvement of the atmosphere within a collective and better goal achievement. For this reason, this aspect should be given the top priority and given much attention. I realize the fact that at the moment, my communication skills should be improved. I possess a basic understanding of how to speak with individuals and explain tasks; however, in complex contexts, I might feel extra pressure and become unable to express my vision correctly. Additionally, communication is a potent inclusion and diversity tool, meaning that leaders in global companies should be ready to collaborate with representatives of different cultures. For this reason, I am sure that my communication skills should be improved to work with people with different backgrounds, cultures, and religions. It will lead to the elimination of multiple barriers limiting chances for successful cooperation.
Creativity is also among the most frequently mentioned traits vital for a leader. Today, it is closely linked to innovativeness, which presupposes technologies and unusual solutions to resolve a complex task and acquire a competitive advantage. Modern leaders should be ready to look for unconventional approaches to excel rivals and attract new clients (Gochhayat et al., 2017). My creativity is high, and I always look for the recent alterations in technologies and how they can be used to attain better performance. I am sure that using unusual ways, it is possible to maximize output and minimize input, which is essential for modern enterprises. I correctly realize that the business world is fast-changing, meaning that firms always try to implement new growth and development strategies. For leaders, it is vital to support these incentives, which is possible only if creativity is one of the basic traits that is given top priority. Its cultivation is essential for leaders, especially in the modern digitalized environment.
A leader cannot manage people without an in-depth understanding of the relevant sphere, market, or field of science where an organization operates. For this reason, knowledge and the ability to use it in different situations is another critical quality mentioned by multiple investigators. According to Johnson (2018), extensive knowledge is necessary for any leader as it provides him/her with authority, respect from team members, and improved decision-making abilities. I always try to acquire new information related to the sphere where I work as I realize it is fundamental for future success. I think I possess up-to-date information and data; however, it is also vital to keep working on improving it. I also believe that any PDP should emphasize the critical importance of knowledge for any leader as the central factor influencing his/her ability to create the basis for future successes and transform the work of companies to attain better outcomes. For this reason, it becomes critical to work on this aspect and be open to new information.
The next quality is closely linked to the previous one as it presupposes the readiness to engage in a continuous improvement process and learning. Lussier and Achua (2015) are sure that even potent leaders who disregard the importance of studying will fail as they will be limited in their abilities to manage others and make correct decisions. As for me, I always try to acquire new data, including methods, strategies, and approaches to work with others, organize the functioning of collectives, and create the basis for their future evolution. I realize that good leaders should not stop their personal and professional growth, as it is a key to future successes. Under these conditions, no leader can say that he/she does not need learning as he/she possesses all information required for effective decision-making. At the same time, this fact serves as the stimulus for future development and the achievement of new goals. For this reason, readiness to learn and engage in the constant self-improvement process is vital for all workers of the company as it will help them to succeed and become new top managers or leaders.
Finally, improved decision-making is another core quality of strong and successful leaders. Harrison (2014) states that all top managers should be ready to make hard decisions and bear responsibility for them, otherwise, their reputation and effectiveness will fail. I think that my decision-making skills demand improvement as the part of overall leadership. The fact is that this quality is closely linked to two previously mentioned ones. It means that readiness to learn leads to better knowledge, which, in its turn, results in improved decision-making (Sugiyama et al., 2016). Leaders who have relevant and up-to-date information about the current state of the company, its needs, and plans can select the most applicable and effective strategies and guarantee their effectiveness. (Littlejohn et al., 2016). Under these conditions, I am sure that decision-making should be improved through constant learning and the acquisition of new experiences that can help in various situations as they will improve the speed of selecting available options and the effectiveness of their choice.
Leadership Skills Assessment
Regarding the information mentioned above, it is possible to conduct a leadership skills assessment vital for improving my personal competencies and the company’s work to achieve key business objectives. Interviews with other leaders and feedback show that decision-making, communication, and new strategies are the top skills that should be given priority and developed to boost the work of firms and organizations (Maxwell, 2019). Knowledge is also vital as it affects effectiveness and competencies; however, the cultivation of previous factors is impossible without the appropriate alterations in awareness. For this reason, for the company and me, the work on these aspects and attempts to improve them is vital as it ensures better cooperation, collaboration, planning, and goal-achievement (Mikkelson et al., 2019). I am sure that for me and other future leaders, it is fundamental to focus on these areas as the core issues affecting the performance of organizations, their results, and personal growth. That is why PDP should also focus on these qualities as an attempt to attain significant improvement.
The proposed personal development plan presupposes the following objectives:
- To continue the development of skills and qualities related to the leadership sphere
- To focus on communication as the primary leadership tool to align better cooperation within a collective
- To focus on decision-making strategies and methods to ensure better outcomes and choice of strategies
The following objectives are formulated regarding several factors. First, they consider my own weaknesses and areas that should be enhanced. As stated previously, communication and decision-making are problematic areas that should be improved. Second, assessment and examples of other leaders show the critical importance of these elements, which means they should be given top priority as central success factors. Finally, working on these elements, other future leaders of the company will acquire the chance to engage in personal and professional evolution and contribute to the development of the company. Under these conditions, it is vital to establish these objectives and outline methods to achieve them.
The further development of leadership skills and qualities presupposes several aspects. First, it is vital to continue working on competencies, expand knowledge, and acquire new information linked to the sphere. It will help to get better outcomes in real-life conditions and improve communication with colleagues or employees. Second, online courses can be selected as the appropriate method for attaining success and improving skills. Finally, working in the company, it is possible to cooperate with experienced leaders and follow their examples or ask for guidance to acquire additional knowledge and ensure better results (Ruben & Gigliotti, 2016). It will help to focus on the selected objective and guarantee that there is a basis for future improvement. I think this objective is essential for personal development as it means the continuity of learning and the ability to preserve relevant knowledge and skills, vital for effective delegating, communication, and sharing.
Choice of communication as a vital aspect of leaders’ development is explained by its critical role in the work of organizations. As stated previously, it plays a central role in the companies and human interaction. For this reason, several methods to improve communication skills can be selected. For me, specific courses and self-learning are two possible methods to attain the desired objective. The everyday interactions within a unit presuppose multiple interactions with people to promote desired results (Butchibabu et al., 2016). For this reason, by performing traditional functions and applying knowledge acquired during self-learning activities, I will have a chance to master my skills in this area, which is vital for a future leader and his/her ability to manage people and create the basis for the rise of organizations. Moreover, it will help to acquire new information vital for professional development as communication is a potent data collection tool, meaning that its cultivation can improve outcomes in other spheres, which is a desired result of the proposed PDP.
Finally, the last objective, which is decision-making strategies, also presupposes several aspects. McClellan (2021) is sure that this skill involves a wide range of other capabilities, such as planning, strategic thinking, data analysis, critical thinking, and extensive knowledge. For this reason, focusing on this competency, it is possible to attain improvement in other spheres vital for a powerful leader. For me, working on decision-making is essential as I find it my weakest point that should be enhanced. At the same time, for other would-be leaders, this ability is vital for their functioning and future successes as it ensures that they will be effective in managing teams and creating the basis for future evolution. However, this goal demands much resources and effort, meaning that it is also difficult to achieve. In such a way, all these objectives are critical for the PLDP, and there is a need for the appropriate methods of their cultivation and evaluation of outcomes. It will help to trace the progress and implement the required changes.
The outlined objectives demand specific methods and actions to be performed to attain the desired progress. Speaking about the sphere of leadership, several effective measures can help me or other individuals to acquire the desired information and work on skills and competencies. I believe that the most effective ones include coaching, self-learning, specific courses or programs for would-be leaders, self-learning, and analysis of knowledge and work of more experienced leaders through observation. These methods are available to every specialist, and their effectiveness cannot be doubted as they provide an outstanding opportunity to work on areas that demand improvement. Additionally, every objective outlined above can be achieved using one of the methods mentioned above, which means that I can select among various options. I believe that the existence of several measures leads to higher effectiveness of a PLDP and can help to achieve better outcomes as every approach meets the personal peculiarities of a person and his/her demands.
I am planning to achieve the first objective by completing the leadership development courses and using coaching. I believe these two measures are effective in attaining the outlined goal and cultivating my skills and qualities linked to the leadership sphere. First, specific courses will help to promote additional leadership knowledge, acquire new visions, and outline directions for the development of my company and would-be leaders belonging to the collective. Second, coaching is known as one of the effective strategies for personal and professional growth as it presupposes discussing critical issues and sharing data and experience with a skilled specialist (Owen, 2015). Under these conditions, I believe that these two measures are fundamental for achieving the first formulated objective. The company’s collective can also benefit from the same measures as they are practical and applicable enough to be used by various individuals and contribute to the improvement of outcomes or the organization’s work. That is why I view these two methods as relevant ones regarding the outlined goals.
The second objective, which is the development of communication as a primary leadership tool, also demands several actions. First, similar to the previous goal, training courses or special programs should be attended as it is a perfect chance to develop skills in this area and acquire an improved understanding of various techniques, strategies, and their applicability to different situations. However, I believe that working on communication also demands self-learning as one of the effective measures to achieve outlined goals. It provides individuals with a chance to master skills acquired during courses and everyday interactions by themselves and work on the most problematic areas in their communication (Floris et al., 2020). Furthermore, communication can be trained in the collective, and I plan to interact with the team of employees to share my vision of PLDP and engage them in conversation and information exchange. It will provide a chance to improve the functioning of the company as all specialists will have an opportunity to work on their communication and promote positive change.
Finally, the third objective, or working on decision-making, also demands several measures to achieve the desired goal. I think that the development of this skill requires assistance and supervision from a more experienced colleague or specialist. That is why online classes or virtual classrooms are one of the first methods to enhance this area. I want to enroll in this program and encourage other team members to follow this example as it is critically important for the functioning of the collective, its effectiveness, and its ability to solve complex programs (West & Turner, 2020). Today, there is a wide array of various online courses available for persons, which means that other would-be leaders and I can benefit from multiple options. Another measure to work on the objective is the observation of how more experienced leaders or top managers work to understand their decision-making patterns, analyze them, and make a conclusion about how my own skills can be improved (Volz-Peacock et al., 2016). This will help to become a more effective leader and also set the basis for new achievements.
The proposed personal development plan critically depends on multiple factors, and it is vital to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed methods by using several measures. First, I believe that an assessment survey is a potent tool helping to analyze the current strong and weak areas of an individual and outline directions for future development (Ausmus, 2021). However, it can be subjective, meaning that there is a need for additional control and check. For this reason, results can be shared with more experienced leaders or superiors to acquire their vision or progress and recommendations on what actions to perform. The survey can also be distributed among team members to get an improved understanding of the collective’s progress and its ability to meet current goals. Another evaluation tool presupposes self-control and ensuring that I visited all online classes and courses selected as the method for working on my leadership skills. I believe that these evaluation methods suffice the PLDP and can help to monitor success.
As stated previously, the survey is a potent measure of success that can be used to determine progress. First, it contributes to the critical evaluation of existing skills and competencies, which is vital for choosing a new direction for development. For this reason, I can assess my personal traits and qualities using this tool. Second, a survey among team members can also be conducted. It will show the level of progress and their understanding of what role leadership plays in the collective and how it can be cultivated by using the methods proposed above (Saunders et al., 2015). Results of the survey will show the current developmental stage and will help to trace any alterations and implement the desired corrections. I believe that this tool is vital for monitoring the achievement of goals and personal development regarding the desired outcomes. Furthermore, survey results can serve as the basis for new projects aimed at improving my and other employees’ leadership qualities.
Another evaluation tool is a discussion with supervisors and superiors to get their vision and recommendations regarding personal and professional development. As noted by Northouse (2020), individuals with more significant experience can assess other employees and review their knowledge and competencies to create the basis for further improvement and growth. I assume that face-to-face communication aimed at detecting problematic areas or analyzing the current progress is a potent success measure as it will help to avoid the subjectivity of personal judgments and outline real progress (Rickards, 2015). Moreover, the approach can be applied both at the individual and team levels. It means that superiors can also evaluate the state of the collective affected by my leadership qualities to conclude whether I succeed and what additional actions or steps might be needed to improve the situation and introduce the demanded change. In such a way, providing superiors with reports of your progress and acquisition of their recommendations is a potent tool that should be considered.
Altogether, the proposed PLDP focuses on specific goals and methods that can help to achieve them and improve leadership qualities. They can be presented in the following way:
|To continue the development of skills and qualities related to the leadership sphere|| || ||2021|
|To focus on communication as the primary leadership tool to align better cooperation within a collective|| || ||2021|
|To focus on decision-making strategies and methods to ensure better outcomes and choice of strategies|| || ||2021|
The proposed action plan can guarantee the achievement of outlined goals and contribute to improving my and team leadership skills. The methods include specific courses, self-learning, practice, teamwork, and consultations with experienced specialists. The methods of control are surveys and discussions with superiors. I am planning to engage in continuous improvement of my skills and arrange constant meetings with other team members to ensure progress and boost the company’s performance. I think this plan is a good start for my future career.
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