By Bryan ORourke, MBA
Guest Contributor, Sports+Fitness Network
I am not a huge NBA fan but I do know LeBron James came under a lot of fire when he left Cleveland to go to Miami years ago. Questions also were raised when he left Miami to head back to Cleveland. So last night when the Cavaliers won the game that brought them to the NBA finals, I thought about leadership and leaving. What many sports experts will tell you is LeBron’s career has a time limit. Each time he changed cities both teams were fading and so in order to build his legacy and make the biggest difference he made the choice to move on.
Some might see this choice as reflecting a lack of loyalty or being selfish, I do not. We should all keep this choice in mind in both our lives and in our careers because nothing lasts forever. When it comes to leadership and doing what is right for everyone we must consider what we ultimately give to others as a leader. There are only two things in the end as Randall Robinson so eloquently states:
“There are two things a leader can give to an organization: to serve an organization with passion and strength and to know when it is time to leave.” – Randall Robinson, Author and Founder of TransAfrica
In advising clients, be they executives or business owners, what I find most lacking for many is their not having an end game. In a world of change where nothing lasts forever gaining this perspective is invaluable because it keeps all real options on the table. Being somewhere is a choice and sometimes moving on is the best leadership you can demonstrate. This is not necessarily a condemnation of your abilities and neither is it a mark of success or failure where you are or in this case were.
The subject of leaving and leadership is about you and everyone else. You can teach but you have to give others a chance to contribute and learn. You can have vision but you must let others create their own views of the future. Sometimes you are toiling with those who just don’t share your values. These issues usually bare fruit once we move on at the right time. Since we all will eventually have to leave anyway why not do it on our terms? In fact the greatest impact that is often made comes not during your time in a place, but after you leave . If you have done a great job helping others see their potential or realize their own options you have done more than you could ever do on your own. This takes a realization reflected in one of my favorite quotes from Kahlil Gibran:
“..Stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
So what’s your end game ? Are you choosing to be somewhere because you have not thought about alternatives ? Do you know your exit strategy ? Have you considered leaving as a part of your leading ? Perhaps if more of us thought like LeBron we’d have more championships under our belts and at the same time more quality teams vying for the title.
Follow author Bryan ORourke on Twitter at @bryankorourke or visit bryankorourke.com . Thanks for reading and please share this post and your thoughts and comments. Re-posted with permission; from Linkedin.