4 Roadblocks for S-Style Leaders to Overcome During Succession Planning

By: Hamish Know - Sandler Training - Calgary

BS-Team-leader-pointing-at-report.jpgEveryone can perform a role or task regardless of their DISC style (e.g. goal setting, active listening, planning or creating rapport). However, each of those activities will burn more or less mental calories depending if they are D-, I-, S- or C-style.

S-style leaders are excellent at keeping their company on a steady pace, but when the time comes for succession they face four key roadblocks that may prevent a successful succession or profitable exit.

  1. Ego – of all the DISC styles, S-styles are most likely to say, “that’s how we do things around here,” especially if they founded and built their business. In succession planning there might be adjustments that need to be made to the company’s standard operating procedures, which the leader would reject because it wasn’t “our way.”BS Older-Female-Leader.jpg
  1. Not delegating – because S-dominants have such a strong ego for how a specific task should be done they are reluctant to delegate. Also, they have a strong tendency to not “bother others”. Instead they’ll add that task to their overfull plate, which increases personal stress and may even impact personal health.
  1. Hindering people development – S-styles deeply care for their team, but that care can create a bubble around each of their direct report’s development because their leader doesn’t want them to fail. When it comes time for the leader to anoint a successor or raise someone up to manage the business after their exit no one on their team will possess the requisite skills because they’ve long ago reached the edge of the development bubble their leader imposed on them.
  1. Fear of risk – S-style leaders tend to favor coaching (developing their people to succeed in their current role) and the onboarding/acculturation side of mentoring, but shy away from the part of mentoring that involves developing their people to succeed in future roles whether at their company or elsewhere. In the leader’s mind developing their people for future roles is risky because if that person leaves the company then that will affect the “family” dynamic S-dominant leader seek to create in their businesses.

BS Older Hispanic Leader congratulated by team.jpgEliminating these roadblocks will be challenging for an S-style leader mostly because all of them are internal, mindset-based. For an S-dominant leader having a trusted adviser(s) to support them during succession planning and a “magic mirror,” a person who has permission to point out to the leader when their behavior is hindering the growth of their people and business (e.g. when they take on tasks that they could delegate) will make overcoming these roadblocks easier and create a more successful succession.

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