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Leaders step aside… and make way for new leaders

Posted by Steve Read on May 9, 2013

There seems to be a lot of it about: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands did it on 30th April. Pope Benedict XVI did it on 28th February. Hilary Clinton did it on 1st February. Sir Alex Ferguson of the kingdom of Manchester United did it yesterday. They have all resigned, and are making way for new leaders.

This is one of the defining features of good leaders – they know when to quit.  They do the right things, and move on while things are good.

A couple of years ago, Sir David Rowland, the former chairman of Lloyd’s of London (in fact the man credited with saving the venerable institution from collapse) addressed the executive team of one of our clients, an insurance company, at a training event. He was asked by one of the directors why he didn’t stay on longer at Lloyd’s and enjoy the fruits of his labour. Sir David’s reply was along the lines of being like the Cheshire Cat in Alice In Wonderland. You need to know when to go he said, and the best way to go is to quietly disappear, leaving a big grin behind you. I like the analogy.

That’s it.  A short blog this time.  Get in touch if you would like to add your thoughts on great leaders.   

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