Coaching leaders sometimes involves talking about life transitions and changes. Getting to the next level often requires shifts of some sorts. Leaders always want to be growing, challenged, and pushed to their best selves. So, doing those things inevitably mandates transitions from old to new, comfortable to challenged, and static to dynamic.
One of the leaders I've had the privilege of coaching this year made a decision to accept a new position, which would give him more leadership challenges, opportunities, and influence. To his credit, he wanted to talk through with me how he could leave well his current position of 10 years. He recognized that so many leaders do not leave well. Bobby Clinton's research revealed that only about 10% of leaders finish well! But this leader was committed to being among the 10% and finishing his current job as best he could.
Brax (not his real name) and I talked through several components of transitioning well, including owning the process, committing to unity, seeking counsel for the new opportunity, and building a bridge to the future. But what really stuck out to Brax was the idea of blessing others as he left. We talked about how he could take every opportunity to thank, encourage, call out, and inspire his people to greatness as he stepped out of his leadership role. It felt awkward to Brax to throw parties for himself when he was the one leaving, but he wanted to gather those he loved and capture memories in his last days with his people. He wanted to leave them with something and instill some final words. He wanted to leave a legacy that was beyond him and for their future.
This week, after Brax's transition was completed, he sent me this email describing how transitioned in his final months. He finished well....
How beautiful would it be if the next time you transition, you handled your departure with the same amount of intentionality, blessing, and hour? How much healthier would our work environments be if we left as well as we started? And what would happen to the quality of leadership if we thought about others in our transitions more than we thought about ourselves? This is the kind of culture I want to be a part of and cultivate.
Lead on. Bless others. We will all be better for it.