Being in the write up stage of my doctorate into what promotes and inhibits a leader’s success during a leadership transition, I am keen to start sharing some of the findings.
One interesting outcome thus far is that in terms of the promoters and inhibitors, it is clear that the bulk of the promoters to success are associated with the leader and the bulk of the inhibitors with the organisation.
In other words, in terms of a successful transition, leaders promote and organisations inhibit.
The participants* believe that the leader can do more to positively affect the transition and the organisation does more to inhibit it. This was demonstrated both in the total number of codes for each category and the weighting between ones coded as promoters and inhibitors.
The leaders actions, decisions and experiences are factors more likely to promote success and an organisation’s lack of onboarding, support and clear communication more likely to inhibit early success.
Essentially, the participants appear to be saying “I am driving success and the organisation is holding me back”.
For leaders this confirms some of the popular views that it is up to you to make your transition a success. Leadership transitions are still identified as the most common reason for executive derailment with more and more executives failing as a result of an unsuccessful transition.
What is really interesting is for organisations to consider there might be enormous potential improvements to be gained by simply removing some of these inhibitors to a new leader’s success. For a immediate gain remove the inhibitors and then look to build the activities and support that promote success during the transition.
*Participants include current leaders who have undergone a transition into a new leadership role within the last 24 months and who have at least 4 direct reports, direct managers of a leader who has undergone a role transition within the last 24 months that has at least 4 direct reports and members of HR who supervised a leader role transition within the last 24 months that has at least 4 direct reports