Individual Development Plan Samples for Busy Managers

An individual development plan (IDP) is a document that outlines the projected growth for an employee. It's an agreement between an employee and employer that certain skills should be improved or learned or that overall performance should meet a certain standard by a specified time.

The specifics of an IDP can vary greatly depending on the job and the status of the employee. Some IDPs are standard documents for all employees. Sometimes, they are created when employees are specifically tasked with showing improvement.

Reviewing sample IDPs can help provide an idea of what they should look like.

Example #1: Experienced Middle Manager

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

Time period: 1/2019 – 1/2020

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

Development Action: 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 second-quarter project
  • Cost: None, just my time

Development Action: Set up monthly, one-hour phone calls with Joe Smith and Jen Jones. 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

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

  • Timing: This quarter.
  • Cost: approximately $500 to $1,000

Development Action:  Read the following books:

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

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

  • Timing: Complete by 6/1
  • Cost: $300 for the assessment, approx. $2,000 for coaching

Example #2: New First-level Manager


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

Time period: 1/2019 – 1/2020

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 Action: 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

Development Action: Work with my manager and Susan from HR on my own IDP; get assistance in working with my employees. Subscribe to the company management newsletter.

  • Timing: This week, and as needed
  • Cost: None, just my time

Development Action: Take in-house Supervisor’s Essentials course

  • Timing: Next time it is offered this year
  • Cost: Approximately $500, 3 days

Development Action: 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

Development Action: Role models: Find one role model for each of my development needs. Interview each role model about 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.