Everyone likes gifts, especially really nice ones. And that is true for your successor. As a leader, you make the choice of what to leave for the next person. Here are 5 gifts that the person who takes your place will really appreciate.
1. A healthy department or organization
Picture being told that you have just been given a house from your favorite uncle. But the thrill turns to distress when you actually walk through it and realize it is a disaster! You wouldn’t like to inherit a mess of an organization and neither will the next leader. You need to lead as though your child would be the next leader – working to create a healthy organizational culture that will serve as a great platform for her.
2. A great team
Every hiring decision you are making now will result in either a gift or a curse for your successor. Recruit the best and proactively prepare them for your transition. If you have people who need to move on, you need to handle it. Don’t leave that painful task as the first thing the new leader will need to do. That would be a very cruel gift for him or her and a sign of your weakness.
3. Financial well-being
How would your kids like it if their inheritance was no money at all or even worse, a big pile of debt? Your successor will feel the same if you leave your organization in debt. Work to reduce or eliminate the debt and even build up a cash reserve so the new leader will have the resources to try some new initiatives.
4. Not hanging on too long
No leader feels they are hanging on to their position or organization too long, but many do. And others may not be willing to tell them so, for fear of hurting their feelings or worse – being punished. When you hang on too long, you actually harm the very legacy you are trying to create and you also become the theme of a lot of offline conversations – and no leader wants to be that person!
5. Freedom from meddling
The person who takes your place really doesn’t need you meddling in his or her new role. Regardless of what you think about him, leave him alone! Once you leave, stay away unless your opinion is requested. And even then, be cautious! You wouldn’t have appreciated someone looking over your shoulder, and neither will he.
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of organizational assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include an M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Design from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership from The Union Institute.