NextGen Know-How: Developing a pipeline of credit union leaders

Can you a identify potential successors to your role?

Earlier this year, I was working with an executive who had all the characteristics of a great leader: high emotional intelligence, an engaged team, an approachable leadership style, and great results. There was just one thing missing: He didn’t have a successor.

Although his team members met or exceeded expectations in their current roles, not one of them was prepared to move into senior leadership. This was a concern for the organization, as the CEO realized he had several executives nearing retirement, yet didn’t have the talent in the pipeline to fill these high-level leadership roles.

This isn’t uncommon; many leaders focus on personal development and don’t always see the immediate need for developing a successor. Perhaps you’ve been through leadership training, you listen to personal development podcasts and read leadership books; you are self aware and work to develop your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. You are always looking to improve, reading trade magazines, and attending webinars, conferences and industry events. You may even spend time coaching your employees to perform their best in their current roles.

Personal development and applying what you learn has a significant impact on your success as a leader. Yet many executives and managers are so focused on self-improvement, that they sometimes forget an important piece of successful leadership: developing the bench strength a level below them and preparing mid-managers for executive level roles.

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