Finding the best leader to fill a critical role in your organization can bring excitement and trepidation. Many clients ask us how to set their next leader up for success. Here we offer several key strategies that lay the groundwork for your next leader’s early success.
Ensure your new leader is introduced intentionally to key stakeholders, partners, and influencers.
- Consider the political map of stakeholders that will be important for the leader to meet early and engage well to build connection and trust.
- Who are the top influencers who can support the leader’s success or undermine the leader if not introduced well? Who are the “historians,” or people who understand the context and history of the organization that can help the leader navigate the organization well in their early days?
- Share these insights with your new leader, and then build a plan with them to intentionally, purposefully, coherently, and broadly about the new leader’s presence in the organization.
Leverage what you learned in the hiring process to plan for induction and support during the first year.
- Listen to what your new hire tells you about where they predict they will need support and how they best solicit and receive feedback.
- No leader is perfect. Reflect on what you learned during the interview process to consider the best supports to provide your leader.
- Invest in their development from the start. Establish a budget for executive coaching for the first year and create a purposeful process between your new hire and their coach.
- Establish a regular cadence of check-ins between the supervisor and the new leader, including time for a multi-faceted mid-year reflection process and an end-of-the-year performance review based on the competencies outlined in the role description.
Make sure the organization is ready for the new leader. These items might sound obvious, but missing them can significantly impact how quickly your new leader can get up and running and how valued and welcomed they feel as they enter the organization.
- Consider creating an onboarding checklist to ensure that the new hire knows whom they need to meet in the first days and weeks on the job and what collaborative experiences they can participate in to maximize their exposure to new colleagues and departments.
- Ensure that the new leader’s workspace is clearly identified, organized, clean, and abundantly stocked with the general office supplies found in all offices on the first day. If employees can select their preferred technology devices, make sure you have them available for use on their first day.
- Ensure they have full access to keys, emails, technology, schedules, programs, and platforms they will need to be successful from Day 1.