Imagine this interesting scenario: You just began your new supervisory role and your boss announces that it’s time for you to find your replacement. No, you haven’t done anything wrong and you’re not getting fired. Your boss believes in preparing for the future by succession planning, which means you train your replacement in conjunction with doing your job. Surprisingly, this counterintuitive training program actually offers many benefits to you and the organization.
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. 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.
Look for these positive traits when searching for your ideal replacement:
- 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.
Most importantly, you need to keep your ego in check. Support the new recruit to maximize the program’s benefits and demonstrate that you are a team player.
What other traits will you look for in your replacement?