Leadership Succession Planning: 5 Great Tips!

Leadership Succession Planning

There is a widely held belief that businesses benefit from a combination of internal promotions and outside recruitment. While securing managerial talent from competitors is usually straightforward, developing people from within an organization to rise through the ranks can be a little tricky, and they don’t always react to developmental initiatives in the same way. If you can implement an effective leadership succession plan that looks to the future, you should always be in a position to nurture your top talent through to a management position.

Unfortunately, developing individuals within a team and building on their managerial potential is not an exact science. People develop professionally at different speeds, and they don’t always react to developmental initiatives in the same way. A successful leadership succession plan will help you not only retain your employees, but build them to be strong and effective leaders.

1. Implement Regular Talent Review Meetings

It is important to have an overall strategy to nurture and bring through the best talent within an organization. To that end, regular talent review meetings dedicated to succession planning are essential. Managers and decision-makers need an open and honest forum in which to discuss candidates for future advancement. Individual, bespoke development plans can be put together collaboratively in these meetings — listing the measures and steps required to fully develop potential.

2. Stretch Individuals with Gradually Increasing Responsibilities

Potential is all well and good, but you — and your colleagues — will never know how an employee works under pressure until you see him or her in action. Give the people you feel have potential a taste of managerial responsibilities and accountabilities. Do this gradually; if they cope, slowly add more responsibilities to their role. Those ready for advancement will shine. However, don’t rule out those who struggle at first. Succession planning is all about coaching, development and nurturing, but some people will take longer to respond to these strategies than others.

3. Create Incentives for Advancement

Incentives for advancement are important for one main reason: they stop your employees from looking elsewhere for opportunities. The most obvious inducement is a raise, but that’s not all you can offer. An incentive may involve the promise of future development and training at the company’s expense. Or it may involve working on a prestigious project that could enhance the individual’s resume. Communicate the incentives for progression from the outset, and this alone could provide the motivation your employees need to thrive.

4. Implement Work Secondments for a Broader Knowledge Base

To be a rounded, inspirational leader who commands respect from subordinates, a manager needs to have a degree of empathy with different roles — and the challenges they entail. This is not only an essential part of performance managing others, it is crucial to getting the most out of people. Introduce short secondments into a candidate’s schedule to broaden their knowledge base and make them sympathetic to the challenges faced by others. These secondments might involve just a day or two in different departments or divisions of your organization, but they will instill sympathy and a more detailed understanding of the business.

5. Instill a Culture of Transparency Within the Organization

In order to get ahead, your employees need to raise their concerns — and ask for help when it is needed. Perhaps a candidate’s training schedule isn’t going to plan. Or, maybe an employee with potential is lacking in confidence in certain areas. Only by fostering a culture of honesty and transparency will you be able to get the best out of your prospective managers of the future.

Developing a person from the lower echelons of the career ladder to the top of their profession isn’t impossible. However, it takes planning, a commitment to developing talent and a transparent working environment.

Chris Craddock

As the leader of Projections' production team, Chris loves to inspire others to perform at the highest levels! From the most challenging leadership opportunities to brainstorming the latest topics leaders want to learn about, Chris provides clear direction and vision.