Monday, April 20, 2009

Replacing Me

There are leaders that talk of replacing themselves and then there are those that actually do it. I talked about it a lot [like here] but in the end, I prepared the people around me nominally when the time actually came.

It's always difficult when leaders walk away - both for the person and for the team left in place. I've been fortunate to observe a team step into SPACE [the student missions initiative I helped start] this spring and it's been a relief and super encouraging. But to be honest, I miss it.

A few things come to mind about leader replacement:
- The leader that left still has at least a little wonder. They will still spend at least a little time thinking, "What if?" or "I would do it this way." But it's not their time anymore.
- The new team in place now has freedom to do it however they want. Most of the time, nobody tells them, "Now you have permission." But someone should or they should tell themselves that. It's now theirs to reinvent.
- All the more to ensure that it is the right time and fit for a leader to step away. It might be the absolute perfect time - those two above will still happen.

Giving it away is an non-negotiable task of true leadership. These three dynamics will always be in play with transitions - they make it difficult but not impossible.

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