Individual Development Plan Samples for Busy Managers

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I often get asked by managers for an example of a completed Individual Development Plan (IDP). On one hand, I hate to provide an “example” because I’m afraid too many of them will just copy the example and not put enough thought into it. On the other hand, I’ve found that is exactly how busy managers seem to learn the process best – by just showing them what a completed IDP looks like.

So for all of you terminally busy, impatient, and quick-study managers, here are two examples of management IDPs.

One is for an experienced middle manager, the other a new first level manager. They both contain some of the most typical development needs and methods I tend to see. These examples are not perfectly formatted, but you should be able to get the gist of how to write one in your own template.

Example #1: Experienced Middle Manager

Name, position, function, location, manager, etc… 

Time period: 4/2014 – 4/2015
Development Focus: Improved effectiveness in current role and preparation for potential senior leadership role.

Top 3 Strengths

  1. Functional and industry expertise
  2. Financial acumen
  3. Problem-solving & decision-making

Top 3 Development Needs

  1. Improve my ability to lead change
  2. Strategic thinking
  3. Cross-functional expertise

Development Actions: 

Note: Some like to include development actions for each development need. I’ve found that in practice, well-written development actions tend to leverage strengths and address multiple development needs.

Speak to my manager about my desire to lead a high-level, cross-functional process improvement team. This would leverage some of my existing strengths and allow me to gain experience in leading change and strategic thinking, as well as learn about other company functions.

  • Timing: next week, for potential 2nd quarter project
  • Cost: none, just my time, others, project costs

Set up monthly, one-hour phone calls with Joe Smith and Jen Lopez. They’ve both had experience leading projects like this and achieved outstanding results.

  • Timing: start next week, schedule for rest of year
  • Cost: none, just my time

Take a course in leading strategic change. Check 3-4 business school 3-5 day programs.

  • Timing: This quarter.
  • Cost: approximately $8-12K

 Read the following books:

  • Leading Change
  • Blue Ocean Strategy
  • Timing: one book per month
  • Cost: approx. $20 each, less for e-book.

Take a 360 leadership assessment for further insight into my development needs. Incorporate new insights into my IDP. Review with executive coach

  • Timing: complete by 6/1
  • Cost: $300 for the assessment, approx. $2000 for coaching.

Example #2: New First-level Manager

Name, position, function, location, manager, etc….

Time period: 4/2014 – 4/2015
Development Focus: Newly promoted, development in brand new role

Top 3 Strengths:

  1. Project management
  2. Influence
  3. Ability to drive for results

Top 3 Development Needs:

  1. Coaching and developing my team
  2. Handling conflict
  3. Listening skills

Development Actions:

Work with each of my team members to create IDPs. Be sure to use a coaching approach, asking for rather than telling. Practice my listening skills and ask for feedback.

  • Timing: Start next week, one per week.
  • Cost: none, just my time and team members

Work with my manager and Susan from HR on my own IDP; get assistance in working with my employees. Subscribe to the Management newsletter.

  • Timing: this week, and as needed.
  • Cost: none, just my time

Take in-house Supervisor’s Essential course

  • Timing: next time it is offered this year.
  • Cost: approximately $500, 3 days

Read Crucial Conversations. Practice what I learn with at least one work and one personal situation. Incorporate listening skills as well. Get feedback regarding my effectiveness.

  • Timing: next 3 months.
  • Cost: $20 for book, my time.

Roles models: Find one role model for each of my development needs. Interview each role model best practices, tips, and advice. Try at least one new tip for each development need, and follow-up with role models for additional feedback and advice.

Of course, there are infinite scenarios for management IDPs. I hope these examples will give you what they need to get started.