As a business owner, what do you think will happen when you’re ready to retire? Who on your staff is ready to become your successor? Do you have managers and leaders ready to take over? Your company will need both to survive. Famous management guru Peter Drucker says this, “Manager do things right. Leaders do the right things.”
What characteristics should you look for in future leaders of your company?
Perhaps you have staff members with the desire to become owners. Look for those who share your vision and have a tendency toward entrepreneurship. Watch for those who step up to organize company events, volunteer for community activities, and represent the company at important functions.
First, consider that although people may have a tendency toward or away from leadership, leaders can be developed. And leadership development is now your job if you are to enhance value in your company.
Here are some things to look for:
Potential owners must contribute to the company by being successful project managers as well as having the ability to lead a group, department, particular client, or specialty area. They must also perform with a high level of independence. You should expect to play a support role as needed, but they should come to you with recommendations—for example, “Here is how I’d approach this problem. What do you think?” instead of “I’ve got a problem, what should I do?”
Finally, keep in mind that no one is going to do the job the same way you did. You must realize that there is not just one way (your way) of managing and leading the company. Your role must shift to that of mentor, advisor, and trainer of the future leaders of the company. With your support and guidance, they can successfully focus on marketing and producing high-quality products/services for your clients.
You must realize that your role shifts to that of a mentor…your job is not to do the work for the new leaders but to direct them as they learn how to do the work. And remember, this “learning experience” takes time, so plan ahead!
Source: H.Edmund Bergeron, LLS, PE
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