Leadership transitions: Gradual or not?

As a new business leader/executive, I would often make management or leadership transitions be a gradual process over several months.

It always turned out badly.

I'd bring on a new person expected to take charge in the some way in the company. Then have them "hang around" for awhile getting "up to speed" before making a real transition.

Now, I recommend making leadership changes immediate and full.


  • These gradual transitions are tough on the incoming leader. This person has ~90 days to start well with the company. Yet, they're being asked to accomplish that in an ambiguous role? Not gonna happen.

  • Rapid is better for employees. While you may believe you're helping your employees "get accustomed" to this new person, it's actually confusing for them. Remember that high-performing team members have a clear role including who is their boss.

  • Gradual management transitions are usually a sign of indecisive leadership. And that type of management is a habit any organization should break.

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