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Create an advisory role for smooth leadership transition
  • High-profile leadership positions may require a succession plan that involves mentorship from the outgoing employee to ensure a smooth transition.
  • Employers may want to develop an advisory role job description.
  • A company can include many duties in an advisory role job description.

For some roles within an organization, particularly high-profile leadership positions such as chief executive officer, employers will want to have a succession plan that involves the outgoing leader serving as an advisor to the incoming leader to ensure a smooth transition.

To keep these two individuals from stepping on each other’s toes during the changeover, a company might want to develop a job description for the advisory role to distinguish it from the acting role. An advisory job description would still be based on the duties and essential functions of the position, but it would focus more on teaching and guiding, rather than doing.

Writing the advisory role job description

When writing the job description for the advisory role, think about what a successful transition will entail and what that means specifically for the company. Employers may want to include some of the following advisory duties:

  • Creating a timeline. Together, the incumbent and the new leader should create a detailed timeline for the transition of all duties and responsibilities (this should include when the authority for making final decisions transfers from old guard to new.) The employees may want to involve other members of the senior leadership team in the creation of the timeline.
  • Knowledge sharing. Think of this as a download of institutional knowledge. The incumbent leader and the incoming leader will want to meet regularly (determine the most appropriate frequency) to discuss not only business operations, but also company history, a vision for the future, and the expectations of all stakeholders (such as the board, senior management, shareholders, employees and customers.)
  • Making introductions. The incumbent should introduce the new leader to key internal and external stakeholders, making it clear that the new leader has the person’s full support. One way to do this is to take a phased approach with meetings. For example, use the first board meeting as an introduction where the new leader mostly observes. At the second meeting have the new leader participate, and at the next meeting have the new leader take charge.
  • Coaching. Depending on the personalities of the parties involved, the outgoing leader should serve as a coach offering feedback as the new leader takes the reins.