When the dust settles and all is said and done about a person leaving an organization the real question will have to be asked,
How is his team performing during post 'that person' era?
This is important in many facets.
Firstly, the real mettle of an individual's leadership capabilities could be judged in this scenario only. This becomes even more important in the context of the stage of the team the person has developed or s(he) is leaving behind. Some teams could be matured, others could be a mixture of new and old, while the third extreme could be a relatively young team.
Judgement too should come down contextually.
Is the team allowed to perform independently or is there conflicting peer pressures from other elements in the organization?
Level of influence of the new leadership for the degree of the current team performance?
The real judgement will come in the form of what each individual and collectively as a team they bring on to the table. Most likely the key decision making power will lie elsewhere (meaning with a another senior executive who looks in to the affairs or with the new leader). The ultimate results the team produces will and shall be determined and influenced heavily by the decisions made.
As a leader there are those who achieve results through sheer individual brilliance where the team becomes mere executors of orders. Others choose a different path of providing opportunity for the team to develop even at the expense of short term drawbacks. There is notihng right or wrong here. It depends on the stage of the organization and also it's immediate requirement. I've seen many during my corporate life who belong to both types. Most of them do belong to the 'individual brilliance' types. Their achievements are conceptualised, strategised and lead by the person him/herself only. (There are those who do not belong to either of these as well)
However there is only one sustainable approach to organization development. I think that is quite obvious.
Feel free to share your thoughts or feedback on this posting under the comments column