Leaders Wanted!

Succession planning, a topic of much discussion over the last several years.  Important and some would say vital to the continuation of the organization.  Not only critical for the CEO, but also for all leadership positions in the organization.

Here are some advice and tips for you.

1. No one can do it like you!  You’ve been on the job a long time.  You’ve learned so much.  You have a style of your own.  You make decisions and run the organization your way.  You’ll never find someone who is as great as you – the faster you can accept that, the more likely you can move forward.

2. Disappear.  The mark of a good organization is the systems you put in place to run in your absence.  What would happen if you didn’t come back?  Ensure your staff has the authority to make decisions and move forward with projects.

3. How did you get your start?  My guess is you were somewhat prepared and made up the rest as you went along.  Give your staff the same chance.  Experience in leading, team building and decision making allows you to see who has leadership traits and who will step up when things are tough.

4. Hire better than you’ll ever be.  Your team reflects who you are.  When you have an opening, hire slow.  Make sure it is someone who you would brag about hiring, fits into your culture and has a strong desire to learn and grow.  If you’re looking internally, only promote stars and high potential employees.

5. Outside learning.  There are terrific resources for you and your staff to learn more.  Get out of the office.  It could be an Executive MBA program or classes at a local university.  Building a network outside the office is important for leadership development.

6. Exposure.  Encourage staff to take a leadership position on projects, particularly outside their comfort zone.  Building relationships across disciplines strengthens your organization.  If you’re the CEO make sure your stars attend board meetings and present at board meetings.  Your board needs to get to know their talents.

7. Email, cell phones, text.  When you’re out of the office leave your communication devices off.  If your staff needs to check in with you immediately and constantly you may want to change your management style.  Something is wrong, you’re not building leaders, you’re micro-managing.  There’ll be plenty of time to get filled in later.

8. Talk to your board, or supervisor.  Have open and honest discussions about who might replace you.  Will you recruit from within or is there a desire to bring in someone new?  What traits would your board or supervisor look for?  Provide the board or your supervisor with a process they could go through to find your replacement – it’s a great way to open up the discussion.  Make a plan and write it down.

Are you feeling a little uncomfortable with any of these tips?  A good leader knows his/her abilities and has confidence in what they are doing.  Planning for a transition now, rather than later, ensures the continuity of the organization.  Who is this about anyway?  

What is your experience as a leader?  Leave your comments below.

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