On the whole, executives are focused on adapting to the challenges and disruptions that their organisation will face while they are actively working. While this creates flexible and forward-thinking workplaces in the short and medium-term, many organisations are unprepared for life without their current leaders.
Automation. Artificial Intelligence. An aging workforce. All of these concepts are unified by a single tie: the future of work.
A pillar of strong executive leadership is agility and adaptability. It is a leader’s responsibility to prepare their organisations for disruptions. This requires flexibility and an eye to the future.
But, in fixating their gaze on what is ahead, executives often ignore the disruption staring right at them – their own departure from the workforce.
A poorly managed leadership transition can be devastating. According to Scott Keller and Mary Meaney from McKinsey & Company, the performance of team members can drop by 15% after transitioning from a high-performing leader to a low-performing one. Similarly, employee disengagement can rise to 20% during these times. Essentially, when an admired leader departs and is replaced by someone who is ill-prepared, the organisation as a whole will suffer.
These issues are compounded by the fact that the process of selecting a new leader can be arduous. Organisations understand how important it is to find the right executive for them; therefore, no expense is spared in advertising and selecting the candidate for the position. Upon considering that up to 46% of these hires are classed as failures, there is a huge risk that this expenditure goes entirely to waste.
In the meantime, competitors who are yet to face this disruption can stream ahead.
Currently-employed executives have to be the bulwark against this failure. As we all know, adaptability is absolutely necessary to be successful in the C-Suite. Executives would not be in the position that they are if they were not able to plan for the future. This flexibility needs to be utilised with a view to the end of an executive’s own tenure.
By preparing team members for life in the executive’s chair, organisations can navigate the potentially-fraught terrain of a leadership transition with guile and authority. Ideally, the resignation of a leader should not provoke a panicked plea to the corporate world for an external replacement; rather, you should be able to look through the company records and find an office full of ready-made leaders keen to take a natural step upwards in the hierarchy.
This ideal is not, however, a dream. A simple mentoring program could be the way forward, according to Adam Lavoie.
New executives often struggle most, not with the work itself, but with the corollaries of their promotion. Essentially, they aren’t used to being accountable for the work of a team. They consistently get the best out of themselves but have no experience in cultivating this standard of work from others. So, the best thing that a current executive can do is create a sense of accountability for others in their team members as early as possible.
If team members conduct their work with the knowledge that they are responsible for another’s output too, then becoming an executive will be less of a step up than it would be otherwise.
Also, if this mentorship program occurs across different areas of work, you will expose team members to a variety of skills and experiences that they will not have dealt with previously. Again, this will aid in developing leaders who have broader expertise.
Any executive in a position of leadership wants to leave an indelible footprint on their organisation. Of course, everyone wants this footprint to be a positive one.
Your organisation does not end on the day you retire or resign; therefore, you must be agile enough to prepare your organisation for life without you.
Complete leaders must guide their organisation through times of change so that alterations become opportunities, not disruptions.
Make sure that your departure is the former.
The Complete Leader Program cultivates executives who are calm under pressure and prepared for every contingency. It uses personalised, big-data analysis to maximise its participants’ potentials. Please contact Melinda Fell for more information.