The importance of focusing on your replacement cannot be overstated. Following are three actions that will help you focus on successfully developing replacements:
- Hire the right people: When you select candidates to interview look for people who have the skills and the personality to grow into your position. When making hiring decisions, look for and hire individuals who have the potential to do the job better than you can do it.
- Train them: Hire the right people, then provide the training to accelerate their growth. Spend money on developing skills that will drive the results your company is seeking. Don’t let the cost of training deter you from training your people. Stephen M.R. Covey drives this point home nicely in his book The Speed of Trust:
- Give them opportunities to grow: Once you hire the right people and give them the training they need, provide them with opportunities to learn and grow. Do not hold on to the most important tasks yourself. Give your team members new opportunities even if it means letting go of your pet project.
The Product Management Perspective: Product managers are most often leaders by nature; however, they most often do not have anyone reporting directly to them. These principles still apply because, as a PM, you are a member of the team and have influence on the people who are hired on to the team. Leaders of product managers do themselves and their company a favor by hiring people who will eventually replace them and be more successful than they have been. It’s all about progression: the more you help others progress, the further you go.