Why You Should Hire Your Replacement

I've been involved in a number of succession planning conversations this week and thought of this post from the archives about planning for your own departure.

Let's face it, we are all going to leave our jobs one day. Hopefully by choice but one way or another, it will happen.

Who will fill your shoes when you do?

 iStockphoto

iStockphoto

The November 2010 issue of Healthcare Leadership Review provided an excerpt from the article, "Hiring Your Replacement," where the author wrote, "Although hiring your replacement might seem counterintuitive, doing so will help secure your organization's succession planning and business continuity." And, he provided a few steps for doing so which included: hiring smart people, measuring cultural fit, letting them succeed and losing you ego.

The part about losing your ego really rang true to me as I looked back through my career to supervisors, managers, and leaders blue in the face and fingers holding tight to "their" people, processes, and paper. They were hurting everyone - and themselves. Get a life outside of work comes to mind, but I digress.

As a developing workforce succession planner, I appreciate it when successors are available for our key positions. Having done replacement planning for more than a few years because succession pipelines were not in place, I know that having successors makes sense all around.

But if doing it for the company is not what gets you going, how about doing it for you? There are a few selfish reasons for hiring your replacement (and I ask readers to join in with some of their own) and here thoughts on what's in it for you (WIIFY):

  • More noodle time (great ideas)
  • 2 heads are better than 1 (better ideas)
  • Benefit of another's perspective (well rounded thoughts)
  • Get to develop potential in another (leader who cares)
  • Ability to fill in knowledge, skill and experience gaps (better performance=better reviews)
  • Opportunity to do the things you never seem to get to (no to-do list=peace of mind)
  • Real-time chance to refine your coaching and mentoring skills (leader who can be trusted)

Not your thing? Then how about your own personal minion, someone to do the things you really don't like to do, a new Sunshine Fund owner, and someone to route annoying sales and data collection calls to?

Listen, hiring a replacement who shares your vision and can deliver on your goals will make your life easier and will make everyone, especially you, look that much better. Do this one thing right and you'll continue to look good even after you're gone.

What ever your reason, whatever your motivation - just do it. Hire your replacement and be sure she is ready to step in when the needs arises. 

It is the right thing to do.