Leadership is not a one size fits all concept that you can slip over every situation. It looks different in many different situations. While there are many principles that apply to leaders in all areas, they must be adapted to fit the specifics of every situation. One principle that is somewhat controversial in some circles is the idea that great leaders train up their replacements – even when they’re not planning on leaving the job.
Developing Others in Leadership
Few people are born into the world of being great leaders, but the majority of people can learn the skills it takes to lead well. However, they will need someone to help them develop those skills. This is where senior leadership staff, fit in. If you have any leadership experience at all, then you have valuable knowledge that can be passed on to the next generation of leaders in your workplace.
Developing leaders means that you’re training those under you to rise into leadership positions. In many cases, you’re training them to do the job you’re currently doing.
The Redundancy Argument
A popular argument is usually raised whenever there’s a discussion of training your employees to do your job. The argument is that if you teach someone to do your job, they will be able to replace you and will make you a redundant employee. If there’s another employee capable of doing your job, who won’t ask for as high of a salary, then you may just end up losing your job to the very person you trained.
It’s easy to see where this fear comes from, but it’s actually not founded in proper thinking about leadership. Training up your staff and developing their leadership capabilities does not mean they will replace you, but it does make you infinitely more valuable to your organization and it opens up opportunities for you to move up.
A New Perspective on Leadership Development
Having more employees that are focused on solving problems and accomplishing goals is excellent for any organization. It’s even better if those employees are given the tools they need and are motivated to lead the company to the right solutions. If you as a leader have to dictate everything your staff members should do, then you’re not doing a good job and you are creating a stressful job for yourself.
If you want to be irreplaceable to a company, train your employees to replace you. This will give your company many more qualified, skilled leader’s to drive company progress forward. It will also bring up productivity in the workplace, especially when teams are involved because each person is going to feel more responsible for their own work and will be more willing to contribute positively.
Develop your team by allowing them to think outside of the box and come up with solutions to problems on their own. When you act like a dictator and demand to be in control of every decision that’s made, without accepting input or seeing what your team has to say, then you are creating a stagnant work environment that will not make you look good for promotion or accomplish company goals.
When leaders train their staff to be their replacement by developing leadership skills in the team, they manage to create an exciting, desirable, and productive workplace. You will also make your importance more obvious to the company, even though there are now others who can do your job as well. It’s vital that you take hold of the idea of developing your team to be able to replace you because this is the only way to make a truly successful workplace and a clear forward path upwards for yourself.
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