Are you ready to replace yourself?

There are very few people who would travel somewhere new without grabbing a map before they left home. Even if you are someone who flies by the seat of their pants, there are certain situations where even the most spontaneous of us would plan ahead. Despite this, there are still many leaders who are not using a road map for the future when it comes to planning who will replace them

The future, after all, is not certain for anyone, so it makes sense to be putting a succession plan into place as early as possible rather than leaving the leadership of your team or organisation up to chance.

Who needs a succession plan?

Succession plans are usually spoken about in terms of upper management. Of course, if a CEO was to move on or be unable to work for some reason, it’s crucial that their position be filled by someone equally as capable with plenty of experience. Too many organisations make the mistake of not putting together a succession plan for their middle management. It’s also common for small to medium enterprises to have no succession plan in place and this is a huge oversight – after all, in a small business, every position is essential and an absence of any kind can cause a dramatic shift in the daily operations.

Be on the lookout for leadership qualities

Many organisations look externally for people to step into leadership positions but it is possible to fill the roles internally, too. Perhaps right now, you have names of individuals in your mind who are up to the challenge – if you don’t, how about thinking of those people who make great team members. The fact is that many good followers have similar traits to great leaders and it’s in a team environment that those qualities can be exercised regularly and nurtured.

Qualities of a good follower Qualities of a great leader
Commitment to the team and the values of the organisation Dedicated to leading and instilling the values of the organisation in their team
Flexibility in the way that they work with varying deadlines and with other team members styles Flexible in how they allow their team to work and are ready to let their team get the job done in whichever way works for them
Reliable members of the team who you can depend on to get the work done to a high standard every time Ready to take responsibility for mistakes rather than passing the blame
Good listeners who act on the instructions they are given and listen to the ideas of others Great listeners who act and are ready to hear the concerns of their team
Ready to support their leader and their fellow team members every day Always ready to support their team
Great initiative and willing to problem solve Ready to look for efficient solutions
Not a blind follower who is unafraid to speak up when they are unsure of the direction their team or the organisation is taking Brave in the way they lead, unafraid to take calculated risks and be bold in their leadership

Of course, many people are happy being a member of a team and don’t have any desire to entire leadership. After you’ve narrowed it down to some great candidates, don’t forget to speak one-on-one with potential future leaders to make sure that leadership is something that they are ready and willing to do.

The next step is to give them all the opportunities to show they are capable. Taking leave? Prepare them to step into your shoes for that short time. If there’s an emergency of any kind and you are unable to work, let them step up and into your leadership role. The benefit of giving them these opportunities is that you can assess their performance afterwards.

The whole process of creating a succession plan is simply a way to make sure that no one gets thrown into the deep end. Every time a position changes hands there will be an adjustment period but it is essential that your team feels safe in the hands of your replacement and it’s important that your replacement feels confident to lead as they step into your shoes.

Are you ready to put together a succession plan?  People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit or call us on 0412 333 415. Our online leadership training videos start from $99 for a year’s access, with new video training added each quarter. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.