The future seems so far away from our day-to-day duties and yet preparing for tomorrow is a principal responsibility of our leadership role. Who will replace us becomes the hardest question of all. This question must be wrestled with without bias on your part. Of course no one can do your job as well as you can, you're not retiring, you're in good health so why think about a succession plan?
Developing your succession plan should be high on your priority list for two reasons. That dream job you always wanted comes along suddenly and because you've spent considerable time developing potential replacements you'll feel good about leaving in a timely fashion and leaving your facility in good hands. Secondly, your facility is an ongoing business; the loss of a key person can be crippling for a period of time. As the incumbent you must not put the facility in this situation. With a ready and able replacement you will lessen this issue.
We are in leadership positions because we demonstrate good judgment. The question becomes, how do you develop good judgment? I believe the most effective way to develop good judgment is through experience and you get experience by performing new assignments and making mistakes.
To develop subordinates for leadership responsibilities and or your replacement, it is critical to create an environment that allows for mistakes as part of the learning process. I remember as a young administrator my father would tell me, "If you're not making mistakes, you're not doing anything." Create an environment where mistakes are considered a normal occurrence. You may want to publicly proclaim, " You will make mistakes, but learn from them."
Your facility can't grow and develop without taking risks and when risks are taken mistakes become part of the process. Do everything you can to eliminate the fear of making mistakes. If you want staff to make ten decisions and seven are mistakes the benefit of the correct (good judgment) will outweigh the mistakes. The mistake is simply a cost of doing business. Whether a mistake or good judgment is the result the follow up question should be "So, What have you learned?" The development of a successor is up to you. I believe it is time well spent.
If you are experiencing fear about deciding to be a leader, laugh your fears away by following this simple plan. Kenneth E. Strong, Jr, and Professor John DiCicco can help you eliminate those fears and give you the confidence to lead.
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Feel free to use this article, in your publications, newsletters, blogs, e-zines and web sites in its entirety provided you include the following: Copyright 2008 All rights reserved. Kenneth E Strong, Jr. http://www.decidingtolead.com Front Row Connections, LLC, Virginia Beach, Virginia.