The Question Matters


Dave McCleary on Leadership Transition: Get Coached Up

Posted in Change,Coaching,Generation X,Generation Y,Leadership by treyfinley1008 on May 4, 2010
Tags: , , , ,

This is the close of a series of blog posts that began with a telephone meeting with Dave McCleary.  Following that phone call and an assessment that he provided for me, he sent me a copy of his book Leaving Prisons. In it, he describes 25 different “prisons” that keep us from leading as we’re capable.  In his correspondence with me, Dave confesses to struggling with each one of these prisons at various times in his life.  Suffice to say his book is not theoretical in nature.  It is narrative, it is honest, and maybe just maybe a bit on the autobiographical side.

Recently, Forbes magazine published an article Dave wrote about the transition in leadership from Boomers to Gen X/Gen Y.  In this series, I’ve reflected on David’s thoughts about transitioning leadership from one generation to the next, and the challenges associated with doing so.  There must be no doubt on who that next leader will be.  The power inherent in leadership must be shared.  That example is set through the sharing of power with the successor.  Finally, the leader must go beyond simply sharing power to modeling mutual submission with his/her successor.

Dave’s final comment is this:

They both need an understanding and wise guide/coach to make it through – meeting with them individually and together monthly or 2x/month would be essential to making this happen well.

It goes without saying that I agree.  A wise guide/coach is, among other things, someone who:

  • Understands generational dynamics
  • Sincerely appreciates the values that both generations bring to the table.
  • Asks penetrating questions that get at the heart and soul of leadership so that what is passed along is not just the tangible elements of leadership but the intangible

Whether it’s business, family, church, or NFP, the passing of leadership from one generation to the next should be neither haphazard nor clumsy.  Know your next leader, share power with that next leader, mutually submit to one another, and do it with your eyes wide open and a third set of eyes on you both.

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