Passing The Leadership Baton

We’re running towards the goal. Full tilt. Knowing that we have to step up our games as a leader.

But there comes a time when we must face the toughest task a leader must face. The task to pass the leadership baton to the next generation.

Why This Is Difficult

The transition was difficult. It’s hard to stop something that you’ve enjoyed and that has been very rewarding.
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

To some, passing the leadership baton seems to come easy. They’re able to pass the baton just like Olympians. During their greatest burst of speed, they hand off the baton and the next person takes up the race.

For most, this isn’t the case. They like to hold onto their position of leadership as long as possible. Keeping the title and the responsibility.

There’s the struggle.

Leaders love to lead. They love to serve. They know what they’re doing.

It’s tough to give this up and pass the mantle of leadership to the next generation.

So it’s a mixture of the love of leadership and the fear of the next generation failing.

Why You Must Be Willing To Pass The Baton

Think of leadership as a relay race.

You’re the first in a line of runners. The baton is firmly in your hand. You’re running the race and picking up steam. You’ve just hit your stride. And now it’s time to pass the baton.

This is the point a relay runner enters the exchange zone.

The exchange zone is a time and distance sensitive area. Once you enter this zone you have a certain amount of time to make a clean hand-off. Do it too early or late and the next runner falters. Go too far or not far enough and the other runner misses the baton.

Leadership requires correct timing in passing of the baton.

You don’t want to pass off the baton too early. The next leader may not be ready for the responsibility.

You don’t want to pass off the baton too late. You don’t want to overstay your welcome in leadership.

You have to find the correct time to pass the baton.

When Should You Pass The Baton

Discovering the perfect time to pass the leadership baton is tough. It requires you to stay open to change and the up-and-coming leader that you’ll pass the baton to.

The perfect time is as you’re nearing your peak leadership speed. You should be at or near the top of your game. Leading well and taking care of business.

But there’s another component. The next leader must be ready.

He must have entered into leadership already. He has to have a following. He has to have influence.

If he hasn’t started the run yet, the passing of the baton will be sloppy. Do everything possible to prevent a sloppy pass.

Question: How has a sloppy leadership transition affected you? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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