LEADERSHIP: KNOWING WHEN TO LEAVE

A person who reaches the pinnacle of leadership not only keeps leading, he is aiming to leave a legacy so that when he steps down, a high quality leader will follow him.
In John Maxwell’s “The 5 Levels of Leadership,” the leadership pinnacle is the fifth level. Leaders reach that level not only by developing other leaders, but by creating a situation that people follow him for who he is, and what he represents.
Maxwell says that a person reaches that level by continuing to develop leaders at all the other levels. By having a team of great leaders that the Level 5 leader has developed, he knows that he can step down, and the organization will still succeed like a well-oiled machine.
One of the main mistakes a leader can make at this level is hanging around too long. A Level 5 leader, Maxwell says, leaves before he has to. Most who get to this level have matured, probably had great financial success and may be ready to take on other challenges – or just retire and do something fun.
There’s a philosophy in any job to stay until they throw you out. But really great leaders don’t wait to be thrown out. Because they are so humble, they leave BEFORE they may want to.
So, perhaps you aren’t a CEO with a great nest egg. Are you hanging around a job waiting to see whether they throw you out? Do you see the day when they just might throw you out? Do you think that you are so great at what you do, they will NEVER throw you out?
In today’s working world, EVERY job is at risk. You, as an employee, are just one bad manager, or one reorganization, away from a potential end to a career. The job you are so good at perhaps can be done by someone who would earn less than you. Perhaps technology will advance quickly enough that a machine will replace you. Today’s worker cannot wait around expecting his employer to keep him until he can retire.
You have to keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities. Those opportunities may lie in areas you may not logically gravitate to. Perhaps learning a new skill will increase your career options.
Chances are very good that someday, you’ll walk into work to a surprise – the company has reorganized and you’re being laid off. Never expect to be tipped off to this. It will come when you never expect it.
Or, that great boss you had has left the company, and his replacement is someone with whom you don’t hit it off. Perhaps this person sees you as a threat. Perhaps he just doesn’t like you. He can make your situation untenable.
Though the Level 5 leaders of which Maxwell speaks can usually control their own destinies, you may not have that luxury. But that doesn’t mean you can’t think the way they do. Perhaps you may not WANT to leave a job yet. But you may have to.
What to do to prepare for that? Have a Plan B in place to give you income if a career killer visits you. There are several good Plan Bs out there. To check out one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You could be building a legacy of your own while you work. You could work your way up to a Level 5 leader, without interfering with your career. If the end of that career comes suddenly, you can leave with a smile.
Peter

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