According to one study, 60% of small business owners lack a succession plan, but larger organizations don’t seem to be doing any better. Experts again and again say that a lack of a proper leader succession and transition plan is one of the biggest issues organizations of all sizes face.
While it can be very difficult and costly to replace someone in the C-suite, the problem isn’t just with high-ranking executives either. Managers and leaders at every level depart abruptly for one reason or the other, leaving their teams reeling. That’s why so many people are promoted into leadership positions before they are ready. Add to that the fact that 58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training before they were promoted, and people are basically being set up to fail.
Organizations need a succession plan, but what if you just stepped in to your new supervisory role? Should you really be looking for a replacement already?
Absolutely. Your chances of getting promoted again are much higher if you already have someone in mind who can fill your shoes. The successor-in-training can fill in during your absence, which allows you more time to expand your network and industry knowledge at off-site meetings and conferences. Once the trainee learns the ropes, you are free to move up into a new position.
More than that, preparing your successor allows you to refine your coaching techniques. You expose the trainee to new experiences and responsibilities. You teach valuable skills and behaviors needed for long-term success. By teaching key elements of the job, you have the opportunity to improve your own skills and knowledge, but you also foster the leadership skills that make every employee stronger.
Who is your ideal replacement?
Looking for these positive traits:
- Intelligence and creativity. Smart people offer innovation and new ideas. An ideal candidate can effectively think outside the box.
- Compatibility. Look for someone who shares the organization’s and your vision. Determine personality by contacting former employees and asking the candidate open-ended questions. Favorable qualities include focus, courage and a strong sense of ethics.
- Loyalty. Look for someone who will trust your experience and knowledge and will remain devoted despite office politics.
- Interesting personality. Pass over one-dimensional types and select someone with many outside interests and hobbies.
- Passion for the industry. Find someone who truly enjoys the work and will devote the time necessary to achieve business success.
Take the next step
Once you find the right person, start mentoring and invest in leadership training. All of your employees can benefit from a strong leadership training program that builds the skills and confidence they need to succeed now and as they rise the ranks.
Check out our Bud to Boss training options to find a format that suits your needs. We offer workshops, virtual training and tools to fit every need and budget.
Most important, keep your ego in check. It’s hard to think of someone taking your place, but you should support the new recruit and want him or her to succeed. After all, the person could help ensure you can advance when the timing is right.