A General Manager had an Assistant Manager working for him for six years. The GM groomed the protégée well, and the assistant was prepared for a more challenging role. Unfortunately, the GM was not ready to move on and there was nowhere for the superstar to move up within the organization. Instead of enjoying the luxury of having a competent direct report staying on as his right-hand man forever, the GM strongly urged/requested the direct report look for a GM’s role in another organization. The GM was beaming like a parent watching their child graduate from college as he described all the great opportunities for which his direct report was interviewing.
The GM’s vision, altruism, and business savvy are admirable. By realizing it was time for the direct report to leave and encouraging him to do so, the GM can now develop other leaders in the organization and will have a close colleague he can turn to within the industry. If the assistant had stayed on, he would lack challenges, growth, would stagnate, and perhaps his work would suffer.
One of the best interview questions for leaders is to ask them to describe the accomplishments of their direct reports. How they have developed others provides great insight about their potential as a leader?
Confident leaders empower their direct reports to gain the skills for them to outgrow their role, encourage them to move on to more challenging roles internally or externally, and experience more success.