Management in the Not for Profit Organization

Dedicated to Exploring the Philosophies and Techniques of Management in the Non-Profit Sector

Have you ever seen...

Someone take over for a legend?


Or, have you had to fill the shoes of a management legend yourself?


In either case, you know that it can be daunting.  Sometimes a leader’s abilities can take on mythical proportions.  Trying to take over where he or she left off is full of potential pitfalls.  One, of course, is the possibility that the successor might not have the skill, knowledge, and leadership traits of the predecessor.


However, there are some things that might have endeared the “legend” that create problematic leftover baggage for the new person:


Did the legend…

· make exceptions to policy to curry favor?

· Did he or she do favors to such an extent that it became expected and couldn’t be sustained?

· Expend more effort on a personal publicity machine than on product?

· Make alliances with entities with which the new manager thinks it is improper to be associated?


Did the previous manager leave…

· On good terms with the organization?

· To move up, or to move away?

· With a positive impression of the new manager?  If still around, what might the legend be saying about the new manager?  Does he or she have the old manager’s blessing?



What about the staff he/she left behind?

· Was there a cult of personality?

· Were they chosen based upon the individual preferences, strengths, and/or weaknesses of the previous leader?


How long did it take to replace the legend?

· If it took a long time, how much damage was done to the organization while the position was vacant?

· If it took a long time, did it leave the impression that the persons doing the hiring finally settled on someone out of exhaustion or desperation rather than choosing the ideal candidate?

· If the new leader was in place as part of a planned transition, is there a sense that the person is really a second banana by nature who brown-nosed to the top?


Or, were all of these potential issues avoided, and the organization continued to grow and thrive without missing a beat?


Give it some thought.  Some day you are going to leave your position.  What will you leave behind?