Christmas is over for 2011. And while folks back home are contemplating what they will purchase with their gift cards, I remain in Kuwait with the National Guard. I have a lot of down time right now. But rather than waste hours on video games, I have spent much of my disposable free time quietly contemplating my career and the lines of succession within my unit.
It’s only recently that I have been placed in a leadership role. Until then, I never gave the next generation of leadership a single thought. With my retirement date approaching, I am wondering if I have done enough to prepare the younger leaders to take my position when I leave. In order ensure that they are ready for the challenges ahead, I have been asking myself two questions:
· What haven’t I done to ensure a smooth transition to the next generation of leaders?
· What more could I have done to ensure that the new leaders are the next subject matter experts?
The good news is that I believe I have given the next generation all of the training and information they need. Recently, I have adopted an advisory position, rather than active participation in any training. I am available to answer questions they may have but I will no longer create any training plans or events. I have faith that the information that I have given them was correct and to the Army standard. It is now time for them to take initiative and become the leaders they aspire to be.
Many of the younger soldiers have come to me and asked when they will be promoted. I usually ask the question why they want to be promoted. The most common answer I get is that they want to be “in charge.” I would rather hear them tell me “they are ready for the challenge of leadership.” Rather than give these young soldiers more information to process, I need to help expand their perspective to help them to see what leadership really means.
Time will tell if they are ready for succession. I only hope I have done everything I can.