All leaders will leave, the question is how – part 2
So the time has finally come for you to move on to your next challenge. Maybe there are some really exciting reasons behind the move. Maybe not. Often, it’s a mix of both.
As I shared on my previous article, the ability to take whatever you are doing right now and successfully hand it over to someone else, so they can be even more successful than you have been, is a skill that you will need to learn. Here’s some steps that may be helpful for you to consider:
1- Keep it real
The first thing to do is to situate yourself emotionally within the context of the transition. What does it really mean to you? It’s absolutely essential for you to take time to work this out within yourself first. Transitions can be profound moments that can trigger massive change in our lives. As a leader or technical expert in your domain, you might be used to have your imprint everywhere. When the time comes for you to withdraw, it can be hard.
Your reputation used to be whatever your close friends and colleagues thought about you. But these days, we live in a connected, globalized world. Odds are, you’re working with clients and coworkers across the country, or around the world. The way you choose to say goodbye is likely to be one of the ways, if not the main way, you will be remembered.
The level of one’s ability to think of others is a gauge of one’s maturity. Sadly, age does not guarantee maturity. Who else is involved in the transition and what does it mean to them? Step back and reflect. Try to put yourself in their shoes for a moment. The number 1 reason why transitions don’t work is because there is an immature person in the mix.
4-Draw from character and compatibility
The character and the compatibility of transitioning leaders are two of the most important success factors. I recall one specific case in which the outgoing and incoming leaders had a candid conversion to set the rules between themselves: “You don’t talk about my leadership in public, and I won’t talk about yours. Privately we’ll be honest with each other on any issues.” This is a mark of character. It takes big people to be able to do this.
5-Move on and don’t look back
Successful transitions have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Drawing from the example of teams in a relay race, once the baton is exchanged, the one passing the baton does not run along side the next runner coaching him. That’s what he did in the middle of the race. At the end he stops, catches his breath and walks across the infield to cheer his successor at the finish line.
Leverage the experience to build your capacity inside. People will hear your words, but they feel will your attitude.