Who would fill your chair if you weren’t here?

I read the other day, Mark Cole, the CEO of John Maxwell Companies, once asked his leadership team a question, “Who would fill your chair if you weren’t here?” It’s a powerful question and the one I love the most because it questions our intentions and challenges our assumptions.

I think developing a healthy leadership pipeline is one of the major fallacies of businesses. This is particularly true with small and medium business than corporates, where succession planning has become one of normals for talent management practitioners. That said, it doesn’t have to be rocket science at all! In fact, it isn’t meant to be in the first place. And if it does appear that way, communication is one of the major issues to be fixed before we take a swing at building the pipeline.

As a leader, your number one responsibility is to identify and nurture other leaders, who will not only take your place but also in-turn develop other leaders who someday might take theirs. That’s the basic structure of a leadership pipeline. But it all starts with you!

If you think this sounds so negative, let me assure you, it is not. I think John Maxwell said it beautifully, “if leadership teaches us anything, it’s this — there’s always something next, and we should be ready to answer the call.”

Read that again. Now think about this, if you aren’t ready to answer that call, have you really grown as a leader? If not, what’s that one thing you can do to stay ready to answer such a call in future? Develop someone to take your place. Period.

You know what to do, don’t you?

By Sunil Nair

Nurturing leaders of tomorrow.

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