Video: Manager For A Day
Manager For A Day Program Teaches Leadership Skills
Succession planning is kind of a weird topic for a lot of leaders. Succession
planning, theoretically, is super easy to do. Okay, we just have to find the next group of leaders who are going to replace the current group of leaders as they succeed and get them the right leadership skills, et cetera, et cetera.
The problem is that a lot of leaders get uncomfortable thinking about the people that are going to replace them. And it can make them start to act, you know, a little wonky and maybe even a little territorial and everything else. So those up and coming leaders maybe don’t get trained in the leadership skills they need. Succession planning in theory, super easy. In practice, it’s something very few organizations do, let alone do well.
One simple way to get around this and to make sure these folks get the right leadership skills is to start with what we call a "Manager for a Day program." It basically amounts to a leader picking amongst their employees, taking some of their best employees and saying, "Listen. On one day a week, I am going to have you work with me. You’re going to shadow me along, and start to take over some of these management activities and learn what I might otherwise do."
If you have five really great high performers, high potential leadership kind of people, and you want to give them these leadership skills, give Bob Monday, Sally Tuesday, and Frank Wednesday, and Jane Thursday, and so on. Just tell them, "Okay, on Mondays, you're going to work with me on this. Tuesdays, Bob, you're going to work with me on this. Thursdays, Sally," et cetera.
What it does it a couple of things. Number one is it gives your employees a taste of what it's like to do some of these management activities. Management activities are often quite a bit different than individual contributor activities. They require different leadership skills. It gives them a flavor for the job. What you're going to find is not everybody, once they get a flavor for the job, not everybody actually wants to be a manager. Not everybody wants to take that next level up in the hierarchy. It takes more to do the job than just having the leadership skills. It gives them a little sampling, a realistic preview, if you will.
Also, it actually becomes a help for the leader, the original leader, because now they get their three, four, five best people working alongside them, and all of a sudden it makes you a lot more comfortable delegating. If we just take succession planning in the abstract and we say, "I want you to think about who could potentially fill your job." The natural kind of human reaction is, "I'll tell you who could fill my job. Me! I fill my job. I’m the one with the leadership skills. I don't want them to do it."
But if you start to involve them in working alongside of you, it starts to make you a lot more comfortable with this person, the role they can fill, how they work. If all of a sudden, you're a leader, and you have your three or five best people helping you out and get through your days, guess what? Your job gets a lot easier as well. It's like the perfect person to delegate to.
When you're thinking about succession planning, and thinking about, "Who could I develop as a leader? Who's my next generation of leaders?” Just try a Manager for a Day. Do it for three, four, five months, see how people react, who likes the management job, how helpful is this to you? What you're going to find is this is a very simple, cheap, easy way of identifying future leadership talent.