WORKERS climbing the career ladder can feel threatened by talented colleagues but encouraging them to succeed rather than holding them back can actually help their own cause.
Not only is an ability to support colleagues seen as a leadership quality but workers who make themselves replaceable free themselves up for the next role.
InfoTrack chief executive John Ahern stepped up from chief technology officer to chief executive after succession planning himself out of his role.
Before landing the top job, he was a self-described “fixer”, parachuted into situations to solve problems then move on.
“As the fixer, I could find solutions to problems quicker and more efficiently than most in the business and I would still be the fixer today if some wily old guy had not sat me down and said ‘John, you need to figure out a way to scale this so your peers are as good as you or you’re going to be stuck putting out all the fires for the rest of your life’,” he says.
Ahern, who has more than two decades of experience in the information sector, trained his entire team and shared his knowledge through a comprehensive manual so every engineer could install software like he did.
“(Suddenly) I was managing a new generation of fixers. I had succession planned my way out of a job and was ready to climb the next rung of the ladder,” he says.
Ahern says technical workers in particular can often cost themselves the chief executive position by not helping up those around them.
“If they haven’t trained enough people to capably take their place, few boards will take that risk (of losing their expertise),” he says.
“The reason most people don’t succession plan is a fear of being replaced.
“If you’re good at what you do you always find a role that’s even better so be fearless about succession planning.”
Institute of Managers and Leaders corporate services general manager Sam Bell says the best leaders make sure the workers around them are challenged, developed, and inspired.
Those who tick these boxes are more likely to be loyal to their employer.
The IML 2017 National Salary Survey finds the top reasons talent leave a company are to look for a new challenge (79.3 per cent), because of a lack of career advancement opportunities (58.2 per cent), or conflict with their manager (30 per cent).
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Originally published as How to get your next promotion