Ambitious people are very sure that they are ready to lead.
“I’m ready,” some will say.
“I’m more than ready,” others will say with the arrogance of immaturity.
Then, they get their chance to lead and learn to appreciate the difference between aspiring to lead and doing it.
When I was in my teens, I coordinated a New York County in a Senatorial campaign. No one expected my candidates to win, and we met their expectations.
Although we did better than was expected, I told people what to do. I was a poor manager and a nonexistent leader. People liked me, admired my knowledge, and supported me with what I was trying to do.
Fast forwarding, I co-owned a business with a lazy person. I worked like an animal trying to make a bad marriage work. However, going into business with someone like that was a recipe for failure. I left. We disagreed over the value of the company. He wouldn’t buy me out for a fair price. I shut the business down.
I eventually got an opportunity with a not-for-profit to lead again. This time I knew what to do and did exceptionally well. I led people to exceed their expectations, mentored others into leadership, and lead several exceptionally large workshops for them around the United States.
To lead in this organization, you have to know when it was your time to step up to lead.
There is one thing that they never addressed during my time and leadership with them — knowing when it was your time to step down.
When I flew to Chicago to meet with my peers and announce my decision to do that, there was a genuine shock that I saw their faces because no one and done that before.
However, I realized that I had had enough and doing this had become worse than work.
Certainly, I wish many members of our political class realized it was the time to step down from leading.
The same is true in the workplace, as well.
I wish people realized that it was time for them to step down from the leadership roles, mentor others, and gracefully evolved into an emeritus status within organizations.
If it’s not possible within their organization, there are certainly avenues for them to consult and function that way for others.
Yet, I see people holding on to jobs, titles, and privileges they are no longer deserving of.
Their position exists to create power and feed egos.
It’s proof that they should step down.
When leaders can’t work with others to create a successor and next-generation, they are not making a sustainable system. They are feeding their egos.
There is no reason to name names. We read about them in the press and online all the time.
It’s time for us to demonstrate our wisdom and encourage them to step down.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2021, 2022
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and 90+ smartsets.
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