Succession planning is something every manager and leader should keep in mind. It means you’re preparing for the future, setting up the company for continued success, and planning for any contingencies. Our best tip for succession planning: Hire future leaders in the first place.
When you’re looking to fill job vacancies, view your candidates both for what they can do now, as well as their potential for growth. If you see a candidate you don’t think will grow with your company, don’t hire them. It isn’t in the best interests for your business or the candidate.
How to hire future leaders
Here are a few tips to hire future leaders for your successful succession planning.
Look for drive and ambition
You can plan for an employee’s growth as much as you like, but if that employee wants to stay where they are you won’t be able to get him or her to rise to the occasion. When in the hiring process, look for drive and ambition to indicate who can be future leaders. These will be the candidates who ask questions about growth opportunities, have demonstrated the desire and ability to manage teams, and who have been promoted in past jobs.
Look for candidates who have been challenged
Those who have been tested and then rose to a challenge have demonstrated their ability under pressure. Ask about their biggest successes and listen to how they came about; did the candidate have to go through challenges to get to where s/he is?
The ability to grow and thrive under pressure is necessary for leaders, to ensure they continue being effective leaders even in times of crisis.
Look for well-used intelligence
When you describe an employee as smart, it’s usually synonymous with capable. They apply their intelligence to be great at what they do. When someone is smart and knows how to use what they know, they show the ability to use their skills and abilities well. This is key for a good leader, and something you need to look for in succession planning so that you have someone capable at the helm.
Look for humility
Although you need to find someone with drive and ambition, your future leaders must be humble. A good leader credits his or her teams when something goes well, and takes responsibility when something goes wrong. Employees who are humble know that they are stronger with a team behind them, and don’t assume they can do everything on their own.
Humility is critical in a leader because it plays a big role in retention and high performance. Humble leaders build trust, share information, seek input, learn from their mistakes, and are approachable. These are all valuable to growing and managing an organization, and should be fostered early in an employees career.
What else do you look for when you’re doing succession planning? How do you ensure you hire future leaders at your company?