March 23, 2015

Leadership succession

Let’s assume for a second that John Excellence agrees to my proposal and becomes a smashing entrepreneur with rocketing sales and a highly motivated work force, and this happens because from the inside he has an authentic leadership style. A few years later he parties so much that his success celebrations land him into a horrid medical condition and he is unable to run the business and lead his workforce. What now? His father, brother, sister or any close successor comes to take over his place or one of the directors act on the already devised succession policy and replace John by themselves.

Whoever comes to fill his place will be succeeding him but will their leadership capabilities be able to matchup to the benchmark set by John? Will there be any similarities in leadership style at all? Of course not! It’s hard to replace someone as it is but imitate his every move is practically impossible. The new person will bring his own leadership style to the table which definitely will not favor the company. The workforce that was so loyal to John has already lost their source of inspiration in losing the leader. The last thing they want is someone to take John’s place and be different from him. People generally do not accept change and people who try to bring change will always face a certain level of hostility.

What can be done to fix that? The answer probably lies in devising a system that not only transfers leadership but also transfers the leadership style. A code of conduct for impression management and to standardise the leadership style for anyone who wants to take over the position. It should be set out in the policies as to how the company should be led and it would be preferred that a person from the board succeeds with the position as it would be someone with prior knowledge and experience of how the company was being run.

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