Leadership is a temporary position. For a limited time, you’ve been granted the honor of leading people.
Whether this position is within a business, non-profit, or a church, one day your time as a leader will come to an end.
What do you do when your leadership position ends? You must exit gracefully.
Leaving a leadership position isn’t always easy.
You may have been shown the door. Maybe you felt God leading you in a different direction. Or it could be you outgrew the leadership position.
Whatever the reason for leaving leadership, the key is to leave on good terms.
1. Inform those you’re working with: The hardest thing in leaving leadership is making the decision to leave. The second hardest is letting the people you’ve lead and worked with know that you’ve made the choice to move on.
You’ve worked so close with others and it’s hard to let them know you’ll be parting ways.
I found this out when we decided to leave our church and youth ministry positions. Yet we knew it was crucial to let the people we’ve worked with know that we wouldn’t be around much longer.
2. Speak good of the organization: Regardless of how your time as a leader ends, you must be willing to speak good of the organization that you’re leaving. This speaks volumes for your character.
Sometimes a split gets ugly and there’s hurt feelings. You want to rant about the wrongs that were done to you.
You shouldn’t do this. You can’t do this, if you want to continue leading elsewhere.
Speaking positively about the organization you’re leaving lets people know you don’t hold a grudge and you, more than likely, won’t speak ill of the next organization you leave.
It’s all about character.
3. Help new leaders transition in: If you’re given the opportunity, help the next leader step into his or her role.
Be willing to stick around for a little while to show them the way and help the people sticking around know who the new leader is. If this isn’t possible, be willing to offer advice from afar.
In essence, pass the leadership baton.
4. Continue to create connections: You know a lot of the needs of the organization you just left. This means you could still help them.
Look for opportunities to network and recommend people who may be able to provide value.
Not only will you look good, you will have done good.
Leaving a leadership position isn’t easy. But it’s easy to make the transition gracefully.