Congratulations! You’ve been promoted! No matter how much you’re looking forward to the experiences that lie ahead, don’t forget to ensure a good transition for your replacement. It makes you look better if you can coach the people in your wake and foster success in your former position.
Frank, who bought my company from me last year, kept reminding me that stepping into his new role felt like drinking from a fire hose. The fire hose is a good analogy for many people stepping into a new job. If you’ve been in your job a year or more, you might have forgotten how unfamiliar now-routine tasks were that first week.
Here are five tips to help you prepare your new replacement.
1. Prioritize the Nuts and Bolts
There will be many tasks your replacement is going to have to figure out, but you can help them prioritize which are most important, and make sure they get the big stuff right. Do your best to explain the value of the position to the overall operation and make sure they know what to focus on first.
2. Discuss Successful Strategies
In the short time you have for training, sharing strategies will be more effective than digging into details. Consider sharing your strategy for business growth, customer acquisition or retention, vendor relations, co-workers, even your career strategy. If you mentor them a little, they are likely to return the favor with support and loyalty, which will reflect well on you as you move into upper ranks.
3. Prepare Them for the Human Landscape
Particularly with external contacts like customers and vendors, it’s important to prepare your replacement to deal with key people. Many contacts will feel connected to you, and that connection can be valuable to your replacement and to you in the future. A little background or a success story can help your replacement begin forming new relationships. Make your replacement is aware of particularly emotionally charged topics or areas with internal and external contacts. A personal introduction can help encourage a warm hand-off.
4. Coach Them Where They Need to Step Up
Inevitably, your replacement will be missing some skills they’ll need to be successful. You might notice they lack accountability, impulse control, or interpersonal skills. Whatever it is, you can gently coach them to encourage developing the skills they need. No need for negativity, just make them aware. Ask them how they feel about the skill and give them a chance to consider how it could help them be more successful. A couple good questions can make a huge difference in where they focus their energy.
5. Demonstrate Confidence in Them
A new job can be intimidating, especially when there are big shoes to fill. Your promotion is something your replacement probably admires and hopes to replicate. Telling them you’re confident that they’ll do well will bolster their confidence as they step up, empowering them to act. An invitation for a drink or coffee later to follow up can go even further to boost morale, motivation, and loyalty. Creating rivalry or division won’t help you in the long run, but a true supporter who feels you helped them can be a huge asset to you in the future. A smile and a pat on the back, simple as it is, can make a huge difference.
It doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time to turn the fire hose of a new job into a manageable stream. Looking out for your new replacement can only make you look good in the end.
Lisa Foster is an Executive Coach specializing in leadership development, emotional intelligence, and communications. For 15 years, she taught verbal analysis, argumentation, and persuasion at USC and Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. Trained to identify skill gaps and build on people’s strengths to create more success, she coaches clients looking for more influence, control, and advancement in their careers within large and small organizations. She also develops plans for individual talent development and corporation talent management using evidence-based tools that have proven to increase success.