Making The Choice To Move On

Being chosen for a position of leadership is a great honor. It shows someone noticed your potential and asked you to come along for the ride. Or maybe you chose yourself to lead. You took measured action and stepped up to the plate. And you’ve been leading ever since.

But there comes a day when we’ve all got to make the choice to move on. Whether or not you make the choice is up to you.

Moving on

Image by Mark Fosh

However, it’s a decision you don’t make lightly. You know you’ve been blessed with a great position, leading a great team, and having the time of your life. Except for when it’s not.

Let’s look at 3 reasons you might make the choice to move on in your leadership duties.

You’ve accomplished what you set out to do: Our roles as leaders might be a temporary position based on what needs to be accomplished at the time you’re leading. Have you and your team complete the task to the best of your ability. If that’s the end of your leadership duties, be okay with it. Know you’ll have other opportunities later on.

Another opportunity has presented itself to you: This one is truly exciting! You’ve been leading well and doing a great job. All of a sudden a new opportunity to lead elsewhere arises.

You know you’ve got to weigh the pros and cons of the staying or leaving. The easiest way to do this is to use the Ben Franklin method.

The company no longer aligns with your purpose: I think this may be the hardest reason to chose to move on. After all of the effort you’ve put into building a great team, the company may go in a different direction than what you feel is appropriate or away from your purpose. This may be the time to exit the leadership position and search for something new.

Making the choice to move on is rarely an easy choice to make. You’ve established relationships, you’ve done great work, and you’ve helped the company succeed. But every thing has a time and a season. Realize when it’s time to gracefully exit the stage and move on.

Question: What are your thoughts on moving on from a position of leadership? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Bill | LeadershipHeartCoaching

    I think one of the main differences between Leadership 101and Leadership 201 is teaching others what you’ve learned over the years. For me, this meant taking off in a new direction coaching others in leadership development, while I actively put in
    place my own succession plan. I would not have been ready to make this move during my 40s, but when I hit 50, I felt driven to this new path.

    • Bill, I’m a firm believer in the building up of the next generation and creating leaders that can take over for you. Thanks for sharing a bit about how you did it.

  • Joe – I just recently stepped away from a leadership position as the building captain of my condo. It was about priorities – sometimes a leader needs to know when they have over committed, and take appropriate action – this was such a time.

    In this case, the other opportunity was focusing on my family, work, website, and the professional network I am a part of.

    • Jon, being able to step away from a position because you recognize your priorities were being neglected is the sign of a true leader. It’s hard but it’ll be worth it in the end.

  • Joseph…just saw you over at Platform U. I loved this post and also loved the photo…I own a Mini Cooper! Now to find out where to get that trailer! 🙂

    • Thanks for swinging by and checking out my site Linda. I hope you enjoy it.

      Funny, until you mentioned it was a Mini Cooper, I didn’t recognize what type of car it was.

      • I would recognize that car anywhere…I love mine!

        • I think it was the trailer that threw me off. Looking at it now, I can see it’s a Mini.

          They look like really fun cars, especially after they were used in the movie The Italian Job.

  • Brian Snyder

    Joe, awesome insight here. I’ve experienced this in the past. My new opportunity was in a direction away from leadership all together. What do you think about a large gap in leadership duties? Most companies look for progressively greater leadership responsibilities as they are evaluating a potential new manager. Do you think a lapse ultimately hurts my chances to go back to leading again?
    Thanks for the great post.

    • Brian, I think it all depends on the company. Some companies are open to alternate routes and others are not.

      One thing to keep in mind is that there’s always the opportunity to lead, even in an unofficial capacity. Keep track of the leadership activities that you did without the title. They’re valuable and companies will recognize it.

  • Joe i would like to add another reason to leave, and it might fall under better opportunity, but I think of it a bit differently. I’ve been growing and maturing as a leader and really benefiting from the coaching I receive in my current position. The company is still aligned with my purpose, I’m just looking for a new adventure. I am a problem solver and know that soon I’ll be looking for new problems to solve, and there will likely come a time when I move on from my current job to go do who knows what.

    • Brady, it’s similar but different enough it could use it’s own category. It’s almost an outgrowing of your current position and/or a sense of adventure. Both things that happen to leaders. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

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