The Many Challenges of Leadership Succession Management

Subject: Leadership Styles
Pages: 6
Words: 1411
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: PhD


Evaluating an employee, who seems to have grown into a candidate for a more serious leadership position is an extremely hard task. Not only does it demand that a choice of one candidate among several decent options should be chosen, but also that the process should be carried out in accordance with the corporate ethics and with the needs of the company taken into consideration.

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In addition, because of the necessity to incorporate the assessment of several aspects of the performance of the leader-to-be, one must incorporate the concepts of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment (Quenk, 2009), competency-based succession planning, the performance-based succession planning, and the aforementioned growth-based succession planning into the framework suggested by Paese and evaluate the candidate’s ability to be a leader on a more advanced scale, allowing the applicant to demonstrate their strengths and at the same time serve as a litmus for the applicant’s weaknesses.

Determining the Person to Be Promoted: Key Challenges and Factors

As it has been stressed above, the basic problem that a company leader or a manager has to deal with when choosing a candidate for the promotion concerns the choice of the tool for evaluating the candidate’s capabilities. When considering the issue closer, though, one will find out that the given problem, in its turn, presupposes solving a range of minor issues, such as the ability of the person in question to communicate the tasks and assign the employees with specific roles and responsibilities, etc.

In addition, when deciding which employee deserves to be promoted, a manager or a company leader is most likely to face the phenomenon of personal preferences. Even the most objective and fair leaders have their weaknesses and are prone to favor specific people for the sake of the personal preferences of the former (Tracom’s versatility and social style model HD version, 2010). As a result, the wrong person may be assigned with the tasks that they might not be able to handle. Therefore, when it comes to defining the key challenges in the process of determining the person for a promotion, one must name the lack of objectivity as the key problem.

Seeing that most of the issues related to the process of identifying the candidate for a promotion revolve around the leader’s or the manager’s lack of objectivity, the idea of introducing a comprehensive test, which can be used as a tool for defining the candidate with the most impressive amount of skills and knowledge seems the most adequate decision. As a result, the need to create a test that would allow for defining the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates emerges (Tracom social style website, 2014).

Six Fundamentals: Assessment for Growth-focused Succession Planning

The role of Paese’s six fundamentals for analyzing the candidate’s capabilities and skills as a leader should also be brought up. According to the information provided by Scott & Reynolds (2010), such elements as the definition of the role requirements, the assessment and coaching of the candidates, the external candidate pool generation, the reevaluation and reselection of the candidates mentioned above, and the provision of the required leadership must be named (Paese, 2010).

Each of the elements mentioned above has its own critical aspects that deserve being mentioned in regard to the process of selecting the successor of a leader for a specific team of employees or a department. For instance, role requirement is extremely hard to nail down due to the multitask specifics of a leader’s responsibilities. Coaching may be seen as relatively simple, yet it requires that the specifics of each candidate should be taken into account when designing training activities for them. Therefore, the implementation of the six fundamentals is fraught with a range of difficulties (Murphy, 2010).

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It should be noted, however, that, despite the fact that the aforementioned six elements embrace a vast amount of factors shaping a leader from an ordinary employee, the test is still far from being comprehensive. Indeed, a single look taken more closely sat the assessment will reveal that the test lacks cohesion between its elements and the procedure of assessing the qualities of a leader. Taking the culture issues as an example, one must admit that, though doubtlessly significant in developing trustworthy relationships between the leader and the employees, as well as reducing the number of possible misunderstandings to the minimum, the cultural aspect is not as important as, say, the ability of the person in question to take the specifics of the employees into account when distributing roles and responsibilities among them (Riggio, 2008).

Nevertheless, the framework designed by Paese seems quite efficient. Much to Paese’s credit, the designers of such assessments rarely pay attention to the cultural issues and the means to address them. In the light of the globalization and the culture fusion, however, the problem of culture clash must be addressed for the instances of conflicts between the representatives of different cultures to be drawn to a zero.

Assessments for the Use of Succession Planning: The Tests

It should be noted that, apart from the framework for evaluation suggested by Paese, a range of tests allowing for defining the competency of the candidate for the role of a manager or a leader exist. Among the most popular ones, the competency-based succession planning, the performance-based succession planning, and the aforementioned growth-based succession planning tests deserve being mentioned.

Much like the frameworks introduced by Paese, the tests listed above have their strengths and weaknesses. As it has been stressed above, the key problem with most of the tests that have been designed so far concerns their objectivity and comprehension.

Each of the tests mentioned above has its positive and negative aspects. Speaking of the former, the uniqueness of the tests shines through; their strengths are predetermined by their purpose and, therefore, can be enhanced when applying the tests to a specific setting.

For example, the performance-based succession planning evaluation allows for defining the quality of the employee’s skills in terms of leadership and organization; the growth-based succession planning evaluation identifies the internal factors contributing to the employee’s growth as a leader and a role model for the rest of the team; the competency-based succession planning test, in its turn, helps figure out whether the employee in question is worth being invested in as a potential leader, or whether the funds spent on their training and the acquisition of the necessary skills is not worth the final result. Each offering a mean to evaluate a specific aspect of the possible leader’s personality, the tests provide rather significant information.

Unfortunately, all three of the above-mentioned tests share the same major disadvantage. Because of their focus on only one aspect of the personality of the leader-to-be, they fail to deliver a comprehensive, full portrait of the candidate for managing a team of employees (Drasgow, Nye, & Tay, 2010).

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Indeed, when it comes down to defining the qualities of the employee, who is about to be promoted for the position of a manager, each of the tests seem to be dealing with a separate issue, e.g., the leadership style preferred by the candidate, the communication style adopted by the person in question, etc.; however, very few tests attempt at evaluating every single quality separately and provide a full picture of the candidate in question.

That being said, one must still give credit to the existing assessments and their accuracy; though failing to provide an all-embracing description of the candidate’s qualities, they still manage to render the personality of the person tested in a very accurate way. Each incorporating several elements of the framework created by Paese, they help determine whether the person tested possesses the qualities needed to become an efficient leader (Kouzes, & Posner, 2012).

The Best Types of Evaluation of the Succession Planning Practices

Though there are a few major dents in the framework of every test specified above, the best evaluation strategies for defining the succession planning can still be specified. Most importantly, the issue of quality considerations for assessment purposes should be touched upon. It is crucial that a comprehensive method for leaders’ assessment should be developed; apart from evaluating the leaders’ qualities, it should also be used as the tool for assessing the progress made by the leaders. In addition, it is imperative that the tool could be used to measure the efficacy of the communication strategy used by the leader, as well as the quality of motivation provided for the staff (Scott, & Reynolds, 2010).

Reference List

Drasgow, F., Nye, C. D., & Tay, L. (2010). Indicators of quality assessment. In Scott, J. C. & Reynolds, D. H. (Eds.), Handbook of workplace assessment. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kouzes, J. M. & Posner, B. Z. (2012). The leadership practices inventory (LPI): Self. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. Web.

Murphy, K. (2010). Individual differences that influence performance and effectiveness: What should we assess? In Scott, J. C. & Reynolds, D. H. (Eds.), Handbook of workplace assessment. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Quenk, N. (2009). Essentials of Myers Briggs Type Indicator Assessment (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. Web.

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Paese, M. J. (2010). Chapter 15: The role of assessment in succession management. In Scott, J. C. & Reynolds, D. H. (Eds.), Handbook of workplace assessment. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Riggio, R. E. (2008). Leadership development: The current state and future expectations. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 60(4), 383-392.

Scott, J. C. & Reynolds, D. H. (2010). Handbook of workplace assessment. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Web.

Social Style (2010). Tracom’s Social Style Model HD Version. YouTube. Web.

Stein, S.J., & Mann, D. (2010). Emotional Intelligence Skills Assessment (EISA): Self. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. Web.

Tracom social style website (2014). Web.

Tracom’s versatility and social style model HD version. (2010). YouTube. Web.