Nine Competencies Your Successors Must Possess

Nine Competencies Your Successors Must Possess

Knowing the nine competencies your successors must possess is crucially important for the continued success of your organization—especially if you are in senior leadership. At some point in your leadership journey, you will encounter the task of choosing your successor.

So how do you choose your successor? Leadership transition is happening across America as the “legacy workers” exit the workplace into retirement. And the biggest challenge your organization may face is that several of the top leaders are leaving at the same time! Often top leaders look for emerging leaders who possess same characteristics as they do, and some may focus more on the specific technical skills to do the job. However, I encourage you to look for the nine competencies your successors must possess to succeed you first and then train them on the specific technical skills if needed. As they say, “they have big shoes to fill,” and you want to help them be successful.

  1. Vision: Successors must possess a sense of vision of where they want to take the organization, division, department, or team. Without vision they will not have the passion or enthusiasm to lead.
  2. Leadership Ability: They must be able to influence others and inspire others to follow them as their leader. Some people have the natural talent to lead; others need to work at it. But everyone can become a better leader.
  3. Ethics and Integrity: These qualities are the foundation to any leader in any company. If you find a successor who possesses these character traits, you’re already ahead of the game.
  4. Big Picture: They need the ability to zoom out and see the big picture as well as zoom in and see the details that can turn opportunities into a competitive advantage for the organization.
  5. Communication: Successors must have the ability to communicate up, down, and across the organization. The best communicators are also connectors of people which drives results.
  6. Personality: The successor’s personality must fit the job their filling. There is no right or wrong personality but there is the right or wrong personality for a particular job, and we all recognize that.
  7. Presentation and Eloquence: Successors need to be able to present confidently to various audiences—from the Board of Directors to the entry level staff members. They must communicate and present with eloquence yet be humble in the way they communicate.
  8. Resilient: Being able to not only embrace change but also to create change as the customers’ needs change benefits and impacts all stakeholders.
  9. Strategic: Successors must be strategic thinkers to recognize when the right opportunities present themselves and how to execute on the new opportunities successfully. They also need to be strategic on selecting the right team members to execute on the company’s vision.

No one is replaceable as individuals because we are all unique human beings. But you can replace yourself with someone who will take the organization to the next level and feel good about it. Excellent leaders choose excellent successors. And you should be proud to leave the organization in better hands than when you were there without taking away your own valuable contributions throughout the years.

Once you have selected a successor who possesses the nine competencies above, you can then assess the next level of requirements that include education, management experience, technical expertise, and negotiation skills, among others. There are several excellent training opportunities you can send your emerging leaders and/or successors to such as the Dale Carnegie Leadership Institute. You can also give them books such as Bring YOUR Shoes: A Fresh Perspective for Leaders with Big Shoes to Fill to help them grow as leaders.

I wish you the best on your quest for your successors! I assure you if you focus on the nine competencies your successors must possess first, the rest of the journey will be easier.