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How to fill your own shoes

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

If you're interested in advancing in the enterprise, you'll help your cause—and your team—if you can develop people to fill your role once you move on. Here are some tips for grooming potential new managers:

1. Find people with potential. They won't necessarily be your stars. Look for people who like to boost other people or who make suggestions outside of their immediate responsibilities. Good managers think of everyone's problems, not just their own.

2. Take time for feedback and coaching. Start dele­gating responsibilities and opportunities to your potential successors. Find out how the team judges their performance in the manager's role. Work with candidates to use the resulting feedback, using your own coaching as an example and model.

3. Bring them into the process. As candidates' lead­ership skills get stronger, involve them in day-to-day logistics, such as preparing equipment and staff projections for the budget. Akey turning point will be exposing potential replacements to your respon­sibilities in the performance review process. When people can deal with the challenges that involves, they're ready for the next step.

4. Try it on for size. Let promising candidates start sitting in for you at meetings, getting feedback from your peers. Then take a vacation and leave a candidate in charge.

5. Make the move. Once you've gotten this far, if you're not ready or able to move on yourself, you have to be prepared to let a well-groomed candi­date pursue management opportunities elsewhere. This sends the message that you're the kind of boss people want to work for.

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