Like the title of this post says, I believe the role of a manager is to identify and hire their replacement. Think about it. If a manager takes their role seriously, then they are constantly searching for talent. They are encouraging employees to learn. They are sharing knowledge by coaching and mentoring. And they are supporting employee growth and development. Isn’t that what we want from all of our managers?
It does mean that managers must be willing to give up control, power and authority to their employees through delegation. However, giving employees the ability to make decisions doesn’t mean the manager has made themselves dispensable. In fact, managers who develop their teams to the point where they are able to delegate are in a position to showcase their talents to the rest of the organization.
Consider this: Managers who are afraid to delegate and let their employees have control over their work will never get tapped to do “cool stuff” within the company. You know what I’m talking about. They can’t chair the special project that gets the attention of senior leadership. Or be a part of the committee that’s working on the next “top secret new product” that everyone is dying to know about. Wanna guess why the manager won’t get asked? Correct – because they don’t have anyone around to pick up the slack. They don’t have employees that can function on their own in the manager’s absence.
There are some people who think current employees should not be involved in the selection and hiring process for their replacement because they can potentially spread sour grapes to the new manager. It’s a valid concern. And I agree, disengaged employees might poison the process. But that’s not a reason to change the goal. It is a reason to find out why those employees are disengaged and fix it.
The goal remains the same. Managers should find and hire their replacement.
When managers make it their goal to hire their replacement, then the employee who does eventually replace them, will already understand their goal. The manager’s “goal” perpetuates throughout the organization. And who doesn’t want an organization where people are constantly searching for the best talent, so they can train and develop them to assume positions of greater responsibility within the organization?
Managers need to have the goal: find and train their replacement.