Leadership Potential and Succession Planning

Succession planning is about discovering anddeveloping leadership potential.  It is about being prepared for change, butalso embracing change.  Succession planning is about leadershipdevelopment.  Fortunately, there is actually a great deal known about howto select leaders.  There are nowwell over 10,000 books, articles, and presentations on leadership, and somereasonable consensus has emerged about the key issues related to this importanttopic.  But let's first start with a great definition: 

Leadership      

"Persuading others totranscend their personal concerns and to pursue a collective goal that ismeaningful for a group and that will further their collective welfare; it ispersuasion, not domination; it involves creating cohesive and mission-orientedteams; and effective leadership has a direct causal relationship to teamperformance."

PREDICTORS OF LEADERSHIPPOTENTIAL

Researchstrongly suggests the following set of predictors as the most reliable and validindicators of leadership potential. 

EffectivePredictor1: 

The actual performance of the candidate’steam or organizational unit. 

Therefore,we must evaluate real-time performance data to aide in determining whethersomeone will make a good leader.

EffectivePredictor2: 

Peer, supervisor, and subordinate feedback onthe candidate’s effectiveness has high predictive validity. For example, it’s been demonstrated that subordinate ratings are aseffective as (and much less expensive than) assessment center data in predictingmanagerial performance seven years later. 

Therefore,we must include 360° feedback instruments as a key component of the assessmentprocess.

EffectivePredictor3:  

 

Thepresence of derailment factors in the candidate’s profile.  

Therefore,it is important to look for tendencies to over control, exploit, micro-manage,resist using appropriate consequences, or to be arrogant, political,egotistical, irritable, passive-aggressive, vindictive, abrasive, insensitive,or aloof.  All are provencorrelates of managerial careers that flounder, stall, or derail.

Effective Predictor4:

Cognitive ability and an additional fivepersonality characteristics account for the most variance in leadershipeffectiveness. Therefore, we must measure the followingpsychological characteristics:

  • Doesthis person have a broad range of interests?  Is the personcreative, broad-minded, curious, open to experience?
  •  Is this person prudent,motivated to achieve, organized and responsible?  Does this person have astrong work ethic built around integrity?
  •  Can this person be described as extraverted, assertive, full ofhigh-energy, a fluent speaker, looking to advance, an eager decision maker, andpersuasive – is the person "leader-like?"
  •  Can this person be described as self-confident,self-accepting, balanced, stress resistant, tolerant of uncertainty, gracefulunder pressure, flexible, and effective at handling conflict and negativefeedback?
  •  Is this person diplomatic,cooperative, empathic, friendly, an effective communicator, trusting, andgood-natured?

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