Pass the baton


How amazing is the mode in which issues to do with succession are handled in political establishments.

It appears as though there is no problem until someone dies or there is an election. It is in such times that one realises that a serious crisis is brewing.

From a leadership standpoint, the utmost function of leadership is development of other proficient leaders who are gifted to advance the interests of the entity forward.

The effectiveness of a leader is determined by their ability to groom followers who will be equally as competent.

The succession subject can therefore not be sidelined and talked about only when the entity has a symposium or a congress.

After that there is no discussion whatsoever probably pending the death of someone else.

Waiting for the demise of someone before conversing about succession is one of the greatest blunders to have transpired in leadership in the grand continent of Africa.

The real progress of the entity is retarded as there is always speculation as to who will take over after the current incumbent has stepped down or has possibly died.

Surely, this is not the best way of running organisations especially political parties.

Why leave the most important aspects to a time when the current office-bearer can no longer make a contribution? Not simply that, but leadership wisdom should be passed from one generation to another.

As long as there is no grooming of followers, the genuine substance that is found in our present leaders will go with them to the grave.

How unfortunate that those who take over will have to start all over again in mastering the skill of running the entity.

When the leadership roles in your entity fall vacant, how ready are you to fill those positions with competent personnel with the capacity of carrying the entity forward?

Most companies, political parties and religious establishments are found wanting in this respect.

The people who will take over the post are not prepared whatsoever for the challenge at hand.

This is primarily because no one would have told them that they are being groomed for leadership.

World-class establishments know the importance of having top talent lined up and geared up to go.

Many benefits of effective succession management transmit to both the organisation and to the individual.

There are greater risks that are associated with failing to plan for leadership succession. In most cases, the death of the current leader means the demise of the organisation.

Preparing your subordinates for future challenges entails two aspects. These aspects are planning and development.

A quicker look at our organisations reveals that there isn’t much planning to talk about particularly pertaining to the people issue of development.

Development only exists in the mind of the current leader but nothing is done on the ground.

Most leaders actually feel threatened by their own subordinates to the point where they are not even prepared to provide them with the necessary information that they need for the entity to go forward.

These are the type of leaders who die with their wisdom and no one knows what to do the moment they are no longer present.

Planning for leadership change-over entails spotting the men and women who demonstrate potential for assuming greater responsibility.

It is only the person who has immense potential who carries the answer for the challenges of the day after tomorrow.

The one who can do things so well today is not automatically the best candidate to propel the organisation forward.

This is because the demands of tomorrow call for men and women who are versatile and geared up to add value to the entity.

In addition to identification of potential is the need to appraise those individuals against some kind of leadership model so as to completely appreciate their strengths and weaknesses.

The understanding of strengths and weaknesses helps in the appointment of these people especially in the event of a position arising.

There are many instances in the greater world whereby people are given positions that are in conflict with the strengths they have.

These are the people who end up failing miserably even though they may have possessed massive potential.

Potential should always be channelled into the rightful path otherwise it becomes wasted potential.

Never have the mind-set of funnelling potential incorrectly as a technique of frustrating the subordinate so that they leave.

There is no benefit that accrues to the entity if the person with potential leaves out of frustration. In most cases, both the individual and the bigger entity lose out.

Every organisation has a certain way of doing things that should be fine-tuned into a leadership model. It is this leadership model that describes the set of elements and attributes that are critical to the entity at hand.

Different leadership models exist for different setups. The leadership model that you use should be in tandem with the changes taking place in the greater environment.

There is no point in having a model that is perfect for the set-up that existed 20 years ago.

It is only a good leadership model that helps in the identification of the kind of roles that need to be filled from time to time.

It also facilitates the flow of succession opportunities- even if it means removing current leaders that may possibly be performing adequately in their roles.

Developing future leaders rises above the classroom training session and what someone could have mastered in the earlier periods.

Leadership development is a continuous activity.

Noah Mangwarara is a motivational speaker and leadership expert. Contact Noah on

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