Succession Planning – From Cleaner To Supervisor

Most managers and supervisors will not stay in their position forever. Some will quit, others will retire, and hopefully many will move up in the company. The inevitable consequence is that these positions will need to be filled. While some of these roles will be backfilled by hiring from outside the company, the best case scenario would be having competent cleaners promoted through intentional succession planning. However, most of us don’t do this. How can this change?

To begin, we must develop a succession planning culture in our company, constantly being on the lookout for those individuals who may be a potential leader. So let me offer a few simple tips to help you get started.

First, define the qualities you are looking for in a manager then evaluate your team to identify who fits the mold. Obviously, previous managerial experience is a plus, but be careful assuming they were effective managers. Consider their entire work history, what industry they managed in, and why they are no longer managing.

Second, be inclusive of your entire team. Sometimes we inadvertently overlook highly qualified candidates that would be strong additions to your management team. Inclusiveness also lets your employees know that your company truly looks to promote from within and prevents accusations of favoritism. Talk to your team members and ask what their career goals are and where they see themselves down the road. This is a good exercise regardless if someone is promotable or not. This will let them know they are a valued part of the team and you care about them.

Third, once you have found a successor, begin the process of developing that individual. Establish increased areas of responsibility, perhaps leading a safety meeting or a special project. Spend time with your successor taking every opportunity to coach and provide feedback. Development takes time, so don’t expect a star leader to emerge overnight.

Fourth, as a word of caution, avoid promises about timelines. Instead, make it clear that you don’t know when advancement will happen. Instead, let them know of the possibilities for advancement, but continue to encourage them in their current jobs. Keep providing them opportunities for development to whet their appetite for future leadership.

If you will begin thinking about succession planning, you be surprised at what you find. God has created everyone with potential, many with an untapped potential for leadership. It is up to you to find it and develop it.


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