Leadership transitions are tough – whether you’re an executive in a big company, a high school principle or a quarterback in the NFL. Today, let’s look at what we might learn from Manning’s departure that might help us all as we face our next leadership transition.

Photo Courtesy of Colts Media

Leadership transition is inevitable… and usually painful. And yet, done well, these transitions can lead to a better future. EVERY transition is an opportunity to celebrate and move forward. That’s what the Colts and Manning will need to do.

Transition is also a time to answer questions. In the absence of answers, people will make up their own.  That is rarely a good thing. Here are some of the questions people usually ask during a time of leadership transition.

Who’s the new leader?  Sometimes this is obvious and sometimes it’s not. It is a big question to the team. And, it won’t be answered by someone’s title alone. Is the person appointed to the position really a leader? The new leader will determine the answer to that question.

Are they qualified to lead? This is sometimes easy to answer and sometimes the verdict will be suspended. In some cases, the leader has been given an opportunity based on their potential. Sometimes a leader is being given a “stretch assignment.” Neither of these scenarios is bad. However, the incoming leader must realize that his or her qualifications are being questioned. The sooner the new leader can establish his/her competency, the better.

What’s the vision? During my last transition within our company, in my first staff meeting, someone asked, “What’s the vision?” People expect the leader – new or not, to have a picture of the future.

What’s going to change? Obviously, the new leader will probably not know the complete answer to this question immediately. It may not even be appropriate to talk about all those things in the beginning. My approach has been to tell people what’s not going to change – to tell them any more early in the transition would be risky.

Does this new leader care about me? This is perhaps the most important question as it relates to followship. This is a question that incoming leaders will answer over time by what they say and what they do.

Is Andrew Luck the next leader for the Colts? Time will tell. If he is, he’ll get to answer the previous questions and more. [GLS_Shield]

Here’s a link to the Washington Post coverage of Mannings’s press conference.

 

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.