Does it feel like things fall apart when that one person isn’t there? Or do you have plenty of people that can fill in? Do you know if the strength of your leadership bench is costing you?
When you don’t have a deep leadership bench, and people need to be gone, it causes unnecessary stress and anxiety for you and everyone around you. The last thing your team members want to hear from you is that they can’t be gone regardless of their circumstances. A close second is that you’re leaving a vacancy unfilled. More people than ever are burden by their workloads because of unfilled vacancies.
Your organization, and your team members, deserve to have vacancies, short or long-term, filled so that you can continue to fulfill your mission and vision without skipping a beat! When leaders strategically invest in the development of their team members, people are ready and available whenever vacancies arise, even if they’re temporary.
Wisdom says that at any given time people will need to be gone for more than their vacations. They will get sick, have babies, need to care for their sick family members, retire, move, etc. These are all things that can, and need to, be planned for.
Neglecting to develop your current team members and prepare them for future vacancies creates unnecessary stress and burdens for you and your team when people are gone.
I once worked in an organization where last-minute needs would pop up all the time because of poor planning, poor communication, and a shallow leadership bench. As a planner, I almost always already had something planned and knew that every time I said I couldn’t be there last minute I was hurting my chances of advancement because only the ‘yes men’ were developed and promoted. Cut to today when I had to last minute (aka morning of) bow out of a speaking engagement because of an illness that kept our family up all night. And doing so was a zero-stress no-brainer thing to do because I knew someone else would easily be able to fill in because of the strong leadership development culture and deep leadership bench.
Taking the time now to expand your leadership bench will ultimately help your organization experience long-term success. Not only is development one of the most wanted things people desire of their current job, but developing your current staff also decreases the lag time of filling a vacancy not to mention the costs of bringing in people from the outside. It also significantly alleviates the stress and anxiety associated with vacancies ‘cause we all know the work doesn’t just disappear.
Create a strategic leadership development system today and start strengthening your leadership bench. Feel confident that you and your team are prepared because you have qualified people ready and available to fill unexpected vacancies whenever they arise, temporary or permanent.
You don’t need to feel stressed, overwhelmed, overworked, and ill-prepared whenever people need to be gone, and neither do your team members. When you respond with empathy and support to people who need to be gone for whatever reason you become the kind of leader people want to work for!