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Leadership succession planning and DiSC

Leadership succession planning and DiSC

8 Dimensions of LeadershipAre your middle managers and emerging leaders ready to assume greater leadership if suddenly called upon?

Succession planning is something many organizations just don’t get around to doing. But natural disasters, corporate scandals and sudden health concerns shouldn’t throw your organization into disarray. It’s prudent to make sure you have staff who can move in and assume leadership roles if and when necessary.

Succession planning is obviously more than finding immediate replacements for the people at the top. It’s also more than identifying technical skills and positions at risk. It includes talent management and talent development. That’s where Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders and Everything DiSC Work of Leaders Profile comes in.

The individuals

Many organization use 360 degree review with their top-level management as part of their leadership development and coaching. This  assessment of skills and behaviors can also point out skills and behaviors that could be lost when these leaders move on.  The Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders highlights the leadership behaviors that are most comfortable for an individual and which behaviors the person’s peers, direct reports, manager, or others find lacking.

3 Pracices of an Affirming ApproachLet’s say most of your C-level leaders are commanding or pioneering leaders. What kind of resistance and challenges could someone who is more of a deliberate leader expect to experience when taking one of their places?

Of course you don’t want cookie-cutter leadership. You don’t want your resolute leader to completely change personality and be only affirming. You want to prepare them for what to expect when they move into a role where leadership was expressed in a manner that differed from their own. What the outgoing leader struggled with will probably not be what the incoming leader will find difficult.

You want to give new leaders the advantage of knowing their own strengths and be able operate comfortably when called on to behave in ways that come closer to the person they are succeeding. You want your humble leader to be able to be pioneering, for example, when necessary. And that often needs some practice. 363 for Leaders offers three strategies for development.

The Work of Leaders Profile reports provide action oriented ways to work on the areas of leadership they feel need strengthening. Someone being groomed to replace leader who was immediately addressed problems might need to move out of their comfort zone of maintaining harmony. In order to gain alignment around new initiatives, a naturally energizing leader will have to slow down to take deliberate, calculated actions. A new leader might discover that their strengths can be used to win over those who were turned off by their predecessor.

Work of Leaders: Seeks Counsel

The organization

By giving Work of Leaders Profiles to your entire leadership team you’ll be giving them a common language and matrix for talking about leadership. Consider giving it to emerging leaders as well. They’ll be able to talk about the organization’s vision, alignment around goals and execution of tactics. Even better, they can take actions–and encourage their followers to take action–based on the organization’s vision.

Elevating someone to a new role, or even bringing in someone new, can be much easier if everyone begins from a shared understanding. The use of Work of Leaders across an organization creates a shared culture.

As Emma Wilhelm, one of the developers of this profile, stated in a recent interview with us:

We say explicitly in the cornerstone principals at the beginning of the profile that, in fact, it can layer nicely if leaders at multiple levels of the organization are all using these principals of vision, alignment and execution. My vision as a leader is related to the visions of leaders who are maybe above me in the organization and below me so we are all working towards a greater purpose for the whole organization. And so each leader’s vision kind of supports everyone else if things are working.

There are so many steps involved in good succession planning. For example managers need to identify the responsibilities, skills and competencies that will be needed by their replacements. A system for communicating succession planning information to managers must be established. Consider the Work of Leaders Profile as an additional part of your leadership development planning. Make sure your organization is ready for any change in leadership.

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by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the DiSCProfile.com team

1 Comment

  1. It is good to see articles such as this so well written and presented.

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